The situation in CAR continues to be serious, with persistent violence, insecurity, and political and religious tensions. Although non-violent elections were held at the end of December 2015, more than a quarter of the population remains displaced and widespread attacks on civilians continue, which include high rates of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) against women. The Council is expected to adopt a technical rollover renewing the mandate of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA). In its eventual renewal of the mandate for MINUSCA:
- The Security Council should maintain the existing request for MINUSCA to consider gender as a cross-cutting issue across all of MINUSCA’s work (SCR 2217 (2015), OP 40) and the additional mandate provisions requesting MINUSCA ensure women’s protection and support women’s participation (SCR 2217 (2015), OP 32 (a)(iii), (b)(iv), (b)(v), (e)(ii));
- The Security Council should strengthen the language on protection of civilians by including a specific call to consider concerns of women when developing and implementing MINUSCA’s protection strategy. The strategy must respond to communities’ protection concerns rapidly and appropriately, including through increased community engagement and recruitment of additional Community Liaison Assistants (CLAs), with a particular emphasis on recruiting women and ensuring CLAs have a strong voice within the mission;
- There should be an increased emphasis on ensuring that MINUSCA has the capacity to support women’s participation in electoral and reconciliation processes, including national dialogues and transitional justice. There should be a specific call for the mission to regularly engage with civil society organizations, including women’s organizations; and
- The Council should include new and strengthened language on sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA), reflecting the recent independent review of CAR as well as SCR 2272 (2016) and further call for an emphasis on the code of conduct, accompanied by SEA prevention trainings for all military officers, integrated mission staff, and contingent focal points. Before deployment and training, peacekeepers must be vetted in accordance with the UN’s zero tolerance policy.
In determining the mandate for the UN Mission in Colombia established in SCR 2261 (2016), the Council must include a provision calling for gender to be a cross-cutting issue across the entire mandate, in addition to specific provisions calling for the mission to facilitate women’s full participation and protection in the implementation, monitoring, and verification of the final agreement (SCR 2122 (2013), OP 4). Further, as called for in SCR 2242 (2015) (OP 7), the Council should explicitly call for the Department of Political Affairs (DPA) to ensure adequate gender analysis and technical gender expertise throughout all stages of mission planning and implementation. Throughout the work of the mission, there should also be ongoing and consistent consultation with women’s civil society organizations, including Afro-Colombian, indigenous and rural women’s organizations. There should be an effort to support and strengthen all previous efforts by the two parties to foster an inclusive peace process, and the mission should continue to work closely with the Gender Sub-Committee and the group of gender experts. In addition, the Council should consider the following as it develops the mandate for the mission:
- The political mission must be specifically mandated to support security sector reform and, further, should ensure justice institutions are accessible and accountable to survivors of violence, including SGBV;
- In its support for disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration, specific attention must be paid to tailoring reintegration assistance to the particular needs of women and girls in rural areas;
- In reconciliation and peacebuilding efforts, women and their rights must be at the forefront of the design and implementation of early-warning and ceasefire monitoring mechanisms, taking into account the security and protection needs of women as a priority(SCR 2261 (2016), OP 3); and
- The political mission must also monitor, investigate, and report to the Security Council on the human rights situation, with a provision to support women human rights defenders.
In consideration of the ongoing political dialogue, the Council should reaffirm its commitment to monitor women’s representation in official decision-making institutions and their meaningful participation in the implementation of the August 2015 peace agreement, including in the Joint Military Ceasefire Commission, the National Constitutional Amendment Committee, and the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism, as well as ongoing negotiations on the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity. Given the severe security and humanitarian situation, the Council should also continue to protect civilians and call on the mission to hold regular consultations with local women’s civil society organizations to ensure protection strategies are responsive to women’s security concerns (SCR 2252 (2015), OP 8(a)(i), (v), (vi); (b)(i),(ii), (iii)). Specifically, the Council should:
- Insist on the need for accountability for grave human rights violations and abuses, including rampant sexual violence in IDP camps and local communities, particularly by ensuring that women are part of the design and implementation of early-warning and transitional justice mechanisms;
- Call on UNMISS to ensure specific reporting mechanisms for SGBV are available and information is provided on how women can access such mechanisms, recognizing that the success of reporting and investigation instruments for SGBV depends on accesibility. Physical safe zones should also be staffed with female personnel, and survivors’ integrity should be respected, including not taking actions without consent;
- Ensure that women and men can safely access humanitarian assistance, including safe access to sanitation facilities, hygiene and health assistance, reproductive health, family planning, and maternal health services;
- Determine whether local civil society organizations, particularly women’s organizations, are consulted in the design and implementation of delivery mechanisms for humanitarian assistance; and
- Ensure reintegration assistance to returnees is gender-sensitive and effectively tailored by requiring women’s views be taken into account in intention surveys and return decisions, protection measures specifically address women’s concerns, and comprehensive psycho-social assistance and livelihood support is provided.
In its consideration of the report on the humanitarian situation, the Council should call for meaningful participation of Syrian women; girls; civil society, including women’s organizations; and human rights defenders in the design and implementation of gender-sensitive humanitarian aid strategies (per SCR 2122 (2013) and SCR 2242 (2015)), particularly in hard-to-reach and besieged areas as well as in IDP camps. The Council should also ensure women’s needs, such as secure access to sanitation facilities and hygiene and health assistance, including reproductive health, family planning, and maternal health services, are adequately addressed in humanitarian assistance. In consideration of SCR 2268 (2016) on the cessation of hostilities, the Council must request that future reporting on the implementation of the agreement, including by the ISSG ceasefire task force and ISSG humanitarian task force, as well as the likely establishment of ceasefire monitoring mechanisms, is informed by local civil society, including women’s organizations, to ensure agreements are gender-sensitive and grounded in the experiences of local populations. In implementing SCR 2254 (2015), the Council must ensure Syrian women’s meaningful participation in the UNfacilitated political process through ongoing and regular consultations with the women’s advisory board. All mechanisms established to facilitate civil society participation should be fully resourced, supported, and accessible. Corresponding verbal and written reports of the UN Secretary-General should outline specific steps to be taken to ensure women’s full inclusion in the process to ensure its effectiveness and sustainability
As the Security Council discusses the situation in Western Sahara, including the expulsion of international civilian staff and the closure of the Dkhla liaison office to the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), human rights and gender should be key considerations. The mandate for MINURSO should be renewed with a a human rights monitoring and reporting presence which – unlike most other missions established under the authority of the Council – it currently lacks. The Council must also reaffirm the role and the mandate of MINURSO, ensuring it can fulfill the standard functions of peacekeeping, which include monitoring, evaluation, and reporting on local developments, by appointing personnel responsible for civil affairs to work systematically and directly with concerned communities.
The Security Council is expected to consider the deteriorating security situation in Yemen. The Council should inquire about women’s participation in conflict resolution, national dialogue processes, and elections, as well as efforts to protect women, including women human rights defenders and civil society leaders. The Council should also ensure that all peace and security processes are inclusive of civil society, including women’s organizations. To establish inclusive institutions and peacebuilding processes, any effort to resolve the Yemen crisis, including those by the Arab coalition, must protect and promote women’s rights, ensure women’s full participation, and integrate a gender perspective in its process and outcome. The Council should also call for investigations on violations of human rights and ensure accountability for all perpetrators. In addition, the Council should ensure all efforts to address the dire humanitarian situation are gender sensitive and responsive to women’s differentiated experiences during conflict and post-conflict situations.