By Prudence Arobani
The UN said it received 70 new allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse across all its entities and implementing partners, between the beginning of April to the end of June 2018.
UN Deputy Spokesperson, Farhan Haq, while announcing the allegations, said 18 cases involved peacekeeping operations, and 25 from “agencies, funds and programmes”.
“Please note that not all the allegations have been fully verified and many are in the preliminary assessment phase,” he explained, breaking down the 70 allegations.
A total of 43 allegations involved UN personnel, 24 related to non-UN personnel working for implementing partners, and three others related to non-UN international forces, which had been authorised by a Security Council mandate.
Of these 70 reported incidents, 27 took place in 2018, nine in 2017, five in 2016, 10 in 2015 and two allegedly occurred in 2014, while the date is unknown for 17 allegations.
The vast majority, 46, were categorised as sexual exploitation, the UN deputy spokesperson said.
He defined sexual exploitation as “any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another”.
According to him, another 18 allegations were categorised as sexual abuse.
Haq said sexual abuse was “the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions”.
The UN deputy spokesperson said another six were classified as “other” or of an unknown nature.
Women and girls suffered the most from this scourge, according to the figures presented by Haq.
Out of a total of 84 reported victims, 46 were women, 17 were girls – under the age of 18 – and 12 were females whose ages were unknown.
In addition, one boy – under the age of 18 – and five males of an unknown age were also among the victims.
Out of 88 alleged perpetrators, all but eight were men, with four women and four individuals whose genders were unknown.
According to Haq, so far, three of the allegations have been substantiated through an investigation, two cases have not been substantiated, and four were closed due to other circumstances.
The remaining 61 were at various stages of investigation or under preliminary review, while a total of 16 allegations had been referred to the relevant Member States for action.
“We have continued our efforts to implement the Secretary-General’s strategy to combat sexual exploitation and abuse,” Haq said.
Regarding the UN’s commitment to end impunity, he explained that in June, the UN launched “an electronic tool for screening UN staff dismissed as a result of substantiated allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse, or who resigned or were separated during an investigation”. (NAN)