In its expected discussion on Conflict Prevention in Africa, Council Members should support the systematic inclusion of women’s rights in all efforts for the maintenance of peace, and women’s equal participation and full involvement in decision-making with regard to conflict prevention and resolution. Specific entry points for the Council include: Strongly supporting women’s engagement at all levels of decision-making in key national processes, regional and sub-regional organizations; and acting on its commitments to concretely support women’s engagement in conflict prevention in its own work, including through the Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa, as stated, inter alia, in its own PRST 2011/20.
In its discussions of the expected report on SCR 2048 and the humanitarian situation in Guinea-Bissau, the Council should inquire into the ongoing challenges to, and give support for, women’s participation in conflict prevention, political processes, peacebuilding efforts, as well as women’s role in security sector reform. These discussions should also detail gender-specific concerns regarding the current humanitarian situation, review efforts to ensure justice for survivors of sexual and genderbased violence, including psychosocial support, and update efforts on the adoption of a National Policy for Equality. The Security Council should support women’s engagement in efforts to build trust following the coup. The expected UN assessment of the situation must include a comprehensive gender analysis, and gender-specific recommendations.
When discussing the expected UNMIK report, the Council should request information on the advancement of human rights, as mandated by the Security Council (SCR 1244 OP11; and SCR 1889, OP5). This includes women’s right to political participation, and the prosecution of war crimes, including crimes of sexual violence, as well as the need for protection of witnesses. Given the concerns surrounding the safety of women’s human rights, including recent attacks on women’s human rights defenders, the Council should ensure it inquires into efforts regarding investigations and the State Prosecutor to ensure that an independent, impartial and thorough investigation is carried out into such assaults, and into the threats made women human rights defenders. The Council should also inquire into efforts to urge the State Prosecutor to provide immediate and appropriate protection to women human rights defenders, as set out in the Law on Witness Protection, and take further measures to guarantee human rights defenders their right to freedom of expression, and inquire as to steps taken by the Prime Minister to ensure the government implements immediately in law, policy and in practice the provisions of the UN Declaration on human rights defenders.
Discussions on a possible peacekeeping operation will continue to be at the center of the Council’s dealing with the situation in Mali, likely guided by the Council’s receipt of the recent report on the situation. The Council should ensure that the resolution creating a new UN operation includes support for women’s full participation in conflict prevention and resolution efforts, and the cessation of human rights abuses, including sexual and gender-based violence. Specifically, the mandate for the new mission should include:
- Strong support for women’s participation and women’s rights in all mediation and conflict resolution efforts, as recently emphasized in SCR 2056 (OP 26), and in all political processes;
- A strong human rights monitoring and reporting mandate, which includes gender expertise, and a human rights component with sufficient resources and support to be able to conduct its work in the whole territory and without interference;
- A protection of civilians’ mandate, noting particular threats to women, under Chapter VII;
- Gender-responsive security sector and judicial reform directives to the mission, that ensures that training and legislation are inclusive of women and responsive to women’s rights;
- Gender-specific benchmarks including key measures of women’s security and participation;
- As the Council called for in SCR 1889 (OP 9), “ensure that efforts for long term relief and reconstruction to ensure that women’s empowerment is taken into account during post-conflict needs assessments and planning, and factored into subsequent funding disbursements and programme activities;” and
- Emphasis that the UN ensures it is able to screen from its forces any troops, including any now serving in AFISMA, who might be reasonably suspected of having committed crimes under international law or other human rights abuses in their own countries. In addition, the new UN operation should be ready to implement strictly the UN Human Rights Due Diligence Policy in relation to any support it provides in the future to non-UN security forces.
In the interim, the Council should call for the expedited deployment of UN civilian personnel for UNOM, particularly human rights monitors and gender experts. An urgent upscale is still needed in specialized gender-based violence service delivery with humanitarian organizations leading the GBV response, and continuous support from the GBV Sub-Cluster leadership.
Abyei / Darfur / South Sudan / Sudan
The Council is expected to receive reports on the UN mission in Abyei (UNISFA) and the UN mission in Darfur (UNAMID). Both reports should include gender analysis on SSR, RoL, and peacebuilding. Both missions should provide specific information on humanitarian concerns, efforts to address violations of women’s rights, including sexual violence, and ending impunity for these crimes. In its discussion of the situation in Darfur, the Council should call on the government of Sudan to immediately end attacks against civilians; step up efforts to end impunity for sexual violence, including by security forces, and grant UNAMID and UN entities unfettered access to all areas where civilians need protection.
In its discussion of the forthcoming Secretary-General’s report on the UN mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO), and in its expected renewal of the MINURSO mandate, the Council should ensure the new resolution includes a human rights monitoring and reporting presence both in Western Sahara, annexed by Morocco in 1975, and the camps near Tindouf in south-western Algeria, administered by the Polisario Front. The Council could provide MINURSO with a human rights mandate, which – unlike most other missions established under the authority of the Council – it currently does not have, or it could consider requesting the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to deploy human rights monitors in both Western Sahara and the Tindouf camps. Such a human rights presence, which should be independent, impartial, comprehensive and sustained, as recommended in this last report by the Secretary-General, is critical to document ongoing human rights violations, including against women, and to overcome mistrust between the parties and build an environment conducive to meaningful political negotiations.
The Council is expected to discuss the Secretary-General’s report on Sexual Violence in Conflict (SViC). In the context of the recent development of international commitments and policy frameworks on this issue, all Members States, including Security Council members, are strongly urged to detail what concrete, measurable steps they will take to redress the serious remaining implementation deficits on the SViC element of the women, peace and security agenda, including a number of areas of immediate concern. As impunity too often remains the norm, Member States should emphasize the importance of comprehensive justice strategies, including accountability and reparation, and should ensure that the prevention of sexual violence in conflict is integral to comprehensive multisectoral responses. In addition, Member States should take steps to ensure that women’s human rights defenders, who face particular risks in conflict situations, are protected, and the risks they face are recognized and addressed. Sufficient resources should be devoted to women-led civil-society organizations, particularly those providing services to survivors and those amplifying women’s participation in decision-making. Member States should emphasize and ensure that women’s agency and participation is an equal focus of this agenda in order to address underlying causes of sexual violence in conflict. Finally, in its regular work, the Council should ensure that all country reports and mandate renewals evaluate the level of protection and promotion of women’s human rights, as per SCRs 1325, 1820 (OP 9), 1888 (OP 11), 1889 (OP 5) and 1960 (OP 6, 13). Member States should inquire about any lack of such reporting.