United Nations, March 14 (IANS) The global organisation has received one complaint of sexual exploitation involving a civilian international contractor working in its operations in India, according to a UN report which showed a steep fall in the number of complaints worldwide.
The report, which did not identify the contractor or the person's nationality, described the allegation as "solicitation of transactional sex," which usually describes offering favours or things or services for sex, involving an adult.
The incident is under investigation by the UN's Internal Audit and Investigations Group and it is the only one from India.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres's report on protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse was presented on Tuesday by Jane Holl Lute, the Special Coordinator for Improving UN Response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.
She said that with Guterres's strong zero tolerance policy, there was a "downward trend" in the number of allegations last year.
There were a total of 138 allegations last year, down from 165 in 2016.
Of those allegations, 62 involved UN peacekeepers and and personnel in special political missions last year, compared to 104 the previous year.
Indian peacekeepers received a clean chit again last year as a result of the nation's strict policy of zero tolerance.
There have been no allegations against Indians in the scandal-plagued peacekeeping operations since 2013.
Lute said that under Guterres's zero tolerance policy, the UN has launched a system-wide strategy that focuses on putting victims first, ending impunity and cooperating with civil society organisations.
The organisation has created a Victims' Rights Advocate, responds rapidly to allegations and ensures that staff understand their responsibilities in preventing incidents.
Of the UN organisations covered by the report, other than peacekeeping, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees had the most allegations with 39.
The UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women reported one allegation.
The report did not have a specific breakdown showing if the the UN Fund for Population Activities was covered.
A contractor for the fund in Bihar has alleged that there had been "sexual harassment" there and she faced retaliation for providing "evidence" of it.
(Arul Louis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)