Diana landmine charity embroiled in sex scandal

Princess Diana worked with landmine charity Mines Advisory Group, which has been dragged into a wider sex scandal, shortly before her death.
Princess Diana worked with landmine charity Mines Advisory Group, which has been dragged into a wider sex scandal, shortly before her death.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - The landmine charity backed by Princess Diana has been dragged into a wider sex scandal involving charities after apologising for not properly investigating claims its staff paid prostitutes.

British-based Mines Advisory Group (Mag) admitted it had ignored allegations about the "habitual use" of prostitutes by aid workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

"In relation to generic allegations of habitual use of prostitutes by Mag staff in DRC it would seem these were not sufficiently followed up at the time as they should have been and we are very sorry about this," it said in a statement late on Saturday (Feb 24).

A whistleblower at the charity said they had regularly witnessed members of staff with prostitutes and had told managers in the capital Kinshasa three times between 2011 and 2013.

Diana was the public champion of landmine charities and worked with Mag shortly before her death in a Paris car crash in 1997.

The claims come as part of a wider sex scandal, triggered by allegations that Oxfam staff exploited Haitians after a devastating 2010 earthquake.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Friday more than 20 staffers have left the organisation since 2015 after "paying for sexual services."

Meanwhile, Unicef's deputy director Justin Forsyth also resigned following complaints of inappropriate behaviour towards female staff in his previous post as head of British charity Save The Children.