New York — The United Nations on Friday reported 31 new allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation against peacekeepers and civilians working for UN agencies in the three-month period from July and through September — almost half against those employed to help refugees.
UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric released the figures and said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “is obviously disappointed and saddened that these actions continue.”
The United Nations has been in the spotlight for several years over allegations of child rape and other sexual abuses by its peacekeepers, especially those based in Central African Republic and Congo.
According to UN figures, there were 80 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse involving UN peacekeepers and 65 allegations involved UN civilian staff in 2016 — an increase from 2015.
Guterres announced new measures in March to tackle the increase in sexual abuse and exploitation by UN peacekeepers and staff, including a new focus on victims and bans on alcohol and fraternisation for troops.
According to Dujarric, there were 12 allegations against peacekeepers and 19 against civilians working for UN agencies between July 1 and September 30.
Fifteen of the allegations involved the Geneva-based UN refugee agency known as UNHCR which helps more than 22 million people who have fled to another country, he said.
Three involved civilians working for the UN migration agency, the International Office for Migration, and one who worked for the UN children’s agency Unicef.
Of the 12 UN peacekeepers alleged to have been involved in sexual abuse or exploitation, he said four were serving in Democratic Republic Congo, three in Liberia, two in Central African Republic, and one each in Mali, Haiti and South Sudan.
The other alleged perpetrators included five civilians from host countries working for the UN, 10 civilians helping to implement UN programs, and three UN consultants, Dujarric said.
The alleged victims included at least 24 women and six girls, he said.their wishes and needs and aspirations, and how they saw their lives going forward.” — News 24