UNITED NATIONS, Mar. 19, 2019 -- The United Nations (UN) recorded a total of 259 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) during 2018, a press release said Monday, citing the latest report by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
In 2018, the UN received a total of 148 SEA allegations directly involving UN workers, and 111 involving staff from partner organizations implementing UN programs. This represents an increase in the total number of incidents reported compared to 2017, when 138 allegations were made, and 2016, when 165 allegations were made.
In peacekeeping operations, the signs were encouraging, with allegations down almost by half over the past two years: while 103 SEA incidents were reported in 2016, only 54 allegations were made in 2018, said the press release.
Despite this sharp improvement in the UN's peacekeeping wing, the number of allegations went up against personnel in other UN entities, with 94 allegations in 2018, compared to 50 in 2017.
Worse still, the number of allegations against partner organizations implementing the UN's programs reached a high of 109, increasing more than four-fold from 2017 when only 25 incidents were reported.
Although the figures rose compared with the previous two years, the report shows increased awareness among UN and UN-related staff, and improved and harmonized reporting tools across the organization, according to press release.
The numbers show that the UN's victim-centered approach, implemented over a year ago, is paying off as there seems to be an increased trust among the victims and survivors to come forward and report incidents.
Measuring progress is a complex matter that cannot be examined through numbers alone. For example, an entity that does not report any allegations may not have solid reporting and prevention systems in place, read the press release.
The secretary-general's strategy, in its first phase, focuses on addressing the issue within the UN system, as well as those mandated by the UN to carry out programs. This entails more than 90,000 staff in more than 30 entities and more than 100,000 uniformed personnel.