The UN has received 40 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse across its entities and implementing partners for the last three months of 2017.
UN spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric, said at the UN headquarters in New York that the allegations also included 15 reported from peacekeeping operations.
“Not all allegations have been fully verified, and many are in the preliminary assessment phase,” Dujarric said.
He said that the remaining 25 allegations were reported by UN agencies, funds and programmes, and included eight allegations relating to implementing partners.
Of the 40 allegations, 13 were categorised as sexual abuse, 24 as sexual exploitation, and three are of an unknown nature, he said.
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The UN spokesman said: “The allegations involve 54 victims; 30 are women and 16 are girls under the age of 18 and the ages of eight.
“Others are unknown, with 12 of the 40 allegations in 2017, seven in 2016, three in or before 2015, and the dates unknown for 18 of them.”
Dujarric added that 15 were at various stages of investigation, 18 were under preliminary assessment and two were under review with limited information provided to the investigating entity.
“With over 95,000 civilians and 90,000 uniformed personnel working for the UN, sexual exploitation and abuse are not reflective of the conduct of the majority of the dedicated women and men who serve the organisation.
“Every allegation involving our personnel undermines our values and principles and the sacrifice of those who serve with pride and professionalism in some of the most dangerous places in the world,” he said.
Dujarric stressed that combating the scourge, and helping and empowering those who had been scarred by these acts, continued to be key priorities for UN Secretary-General António Guterres in 2018.