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Aid sector must tackle racism within its ranks, finds scathing report by MPs

RACISM in the aid sector remains a serious problem that “reflects the power relationships of colonialism,” a scathing report by MPs found today.

Appeals by aid groups often portray recipients as “helpless” and in need of “saving,” while staff in Britain can be paid 10 times as much as “local” counterparts, the international development committee report said. 

The report also hits out at a lack of staff diversity especially at leadership levels. 

The main decision-making power remains in richer nations, meaning international aid still “reflects the power relationships of colonialism,” it adds. 

The report calls on donors such as the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), multilateral organisations, NGOs and private-sector contractors to recognise racism in the sector and work towards shifting decision-making power and resources to the communities they work with.

Recent cuts to aid funding, done with little to no consultation with the communities affected, “demonstrates the power imbalance that exists and the urgent need for equity,” the report says. 

An FDCO spokesperson said that government recognised local people should lead on settling their own aid and argued the government has “played a key role” in addressing power imbalances. 

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