Socialist Worker

Report reveals the reality of western ‘aid’

Issue No. 2615

Haitians unloading relief supplies in 2008

Haitians unloading relief supplies in 2008 (Pic: Marion Doss/Flickr)

A damning new report in the wake of the Oxfam sexual abuse scandal in Haiti shows how international aid is shaped by Western imperialism.

It said revelations that top Oxfam officials abused women and girls on the island are just the “tip of the iceberg”.

The International Development Select Committee of MPs found there was “systematic criminal sexual exploitation” in the aid sector. And the report said the sector is “attractive for people wishing to exploit others”.

Ordinary people donate to charities because they are horrified by suffering in the Global South. And the majority of volunteers who go to work in disaster zones are not sexual abusers.

But the issues highlighted how the West uses international aid.

Aid often comes with strings attached—such as privatising schools or hospitals in exchange for building them. And, as most NGOs are funded by governments, administering aid is shaped by their interests.

The United Nations (UN) peace-keeping mission in Haiti was there to police the population.

Troops raped hundreds of women and girls with the promise of giving them food and medicine.

Haiti is poor because of imperialism.

The real solution to this poverty is to cancel all of its debt—and for the poor and oppressed to throw off the yoke of imperialist domination.

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