The latest UN statistics on sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) show one South African soldier reportedly involved out of a total of 38 allegations made.
Apart from country of origin and mission deployed to – in this instance MONUSCO in the DR Congo – no further information is given by the world body. This is because not all allegations have been fully verified with one currently substantiated by investigation and eight pending further investigation by troop contributing countries.
The figure of one South African reportedly involved in SEA shows a drop from previous years with the highest being in 2017 when nine SEA cases were reported against SA National Defence Force (SANDF) personnel deployed on UN peace support and peacekeeping missions in Africa.
At UN headquarters in New York spokesman Stéphane Dujarric elaborated on the 38 allegations for the second quarter of 2019 saying two were unsubstantiated, 16 are in the “investigation process” and 14 are under preliminary assessment to determine if there is sufficient information for them to remain active.
He added 12 allegations made are categorised as sexual abuse – “actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions,” per the UN definition.
Nineteen cases are considered sexual exploitation, meaning, “actual or attempted abuse of position of vulnerability, differential power or trust, for sexual purposes, including but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from sexual exploitation”.
Of the 38 allegations, 24 relate to agency personnel, funds and programmes, and 14 relate to civilian and uniformed personnel in peace operations.
The quarter reported on also saw 39 allegations involving non-UN personnel working for implementing partners, mandated by the world body to carry out its programmes. These involve 42 victims and 39 perpetrators.