The Council is expected to discuss a report on the United Nations Office in Burundi (BNUB), which is set to draw down by 1 January 2015. Given the deterioration of the political and security situation, the Council should call for freedom of expression, association and assembly of everyone, including women’s organizations. On 8 March, a peaceful protest by women’s organizations to celebrate International Women’s Day was broken up by the police using tear gas. The Council must ensure that gender is a crosscutting issue in both its own discussions and also is at the core of the transition process. Further, the Council should ensure there continues to be a gender lens in reporting.
The Council is expected to be briefed on preparations for the deployment of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the CAR (MINUSCA), which should be operational in September 2014 and will replace the UN Mission in the CAR. The situation in CAR continues to be very serious, with civilians bearing the brunt of the conflict, and with human rights violations and abuses in the country amounting to possible war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Council should insist that all possible support is given to MINUSCA to facilitate the protection of civilians, including through humanitarian assistance, and to ensure MINUSCA-troops are better prepared and trained. The Council should also ensure quick deployment of human rights officers, gender experts, women protection advisers, as well as child protection advisers, in order to monitor and report on violations and abuses committed against women and children, including all forms of sexual violence in armed conflict. Medical and psychosocial services must be made available and accessible as per SCR 2127 (2013). The Council must insist on accountability for atrocities committed by all armed groups and security forces operating in the country, and reinforce efforts to ensure justice systems are re-established, with investigations and prosecutions conducted according to international standards. As the Council receives a revised version of the preliminary report of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) established to investigate violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in CAR, the specific violations targeting women should be discussed and make sure that the Commission has all the resources and technical support it needs to conclude its work.
The Council is holding an open debate on conflict prevention, during which the central role women play in the full range of conflict prevention efforts and the importance of mainstreaming a gender perspective through any efforts, should be emphasized. Within the work of the Council, as well as more broadly, there is a need for timely information and gender analysis, as per SCR 2122 (OP 2), and support for engagement of women and women’s civil society organizations at regional, national, and local levels in any early warning and conflict prevention efforts. Further, the Council should follow-up on its statement (S/PRST/2011/18), in which it “recognized the need to address root causes for conflict, including by promoting gender equality, ending impunity, ensuring rule of law, and respect for and protection of human right.”
The Security Council is expected to renew the mandate of the UN Hybrid Operation mission in Darfur (UNAMID). Given the ongoing concerns regarding the human rights situation in Darfur, the Council should prioritize the call on all parties to the conflict to protect civilians, in particular women and children, from violations, including sexual and gender-based violence and ensure the mandate reflects this priority. In its renewal, the Council should implement SCR 2106 (OPs 8, 12, 21), by strengthening language concerning women and civil society’s participation in processes to implement peace agreements and in the establishment of security arrangements and transitional justice mechanisms. Further, the existing language in the mandate concerning women’s protection concerns should be strengthened to support the important role of Gender Advisors. The Council should continue to request that the Secretary-General report on progress made in creating and implementing a strategy to protect women and girls from sexual and gender-based violence, as requested in SCR 1881 (OP 14). Further, it is crucial for UNAMID to incorporate a gender lens when assisting the large number internally displaced persons, including by providing services for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.
As the Council is expected to consider a report on MINUSTAH, it is vital for the Council to call for women’s full and equal engagement in Haiti’s future. This is particularly important in view of increasing threats and harassment in recent months against women-led civil society organizations, in particular against those calling for justice for sexual and gender-based violence. Options for reconfiguration of MINUSTAH must detail the ways in which gender will be mainstreamed, and how women’s participation and protection will be core to the mission’s mandate.
The Council is expected to consider the final report on the UN mission in Liberia (UNMIL). The Council should reflect on the efforts of UNMIL to develop the capacity of Liberian institutions with regard to issues of gender and in addressing sexual and gender-based violence and abuse. In moving forward, women’s representation in the constitution-drafting process, the electoral system, the police, and the judiciary, must be prioritized, in order to ensure progress is not rolled back during the mission’s transition. The Council should fully apply a gender lens in discussions of all reintegration, post-conflict recovery and peacebuilding processes, including for education and vocational training for women and girls associated with fighting forces in reintegration efforts. Survivors of gender-based violence must be given full access to post-conflict relief and recovery programs. The Council should send a strong message that the gains for women must be consolidated in the transition and that Member State resources must support this consolidation.
Given the current crisis in Gaza, the Council should ensure that it considers the gender dimensions of the situation in its discussions. The Council should call for gender-sensitive humanitarian access, aid and services, and call for an end to indiscriminate attacks harming civilians in both Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories. The Council must call for accountability for violations of human rights and crimes under international law. Further, the Council should call for the meaningful inclusion of women, and ensure a focus on women’s rights as well as an inclusion of a gender perspective in all aspects of decision-making related to the current crisis, potential negotiations and ceasefires, and the ongoing peace and security processes. To this date, the Council has failed to address any gender dimension of the situation in the Middle East.
The Council is expected to remain engaged on the situation in Syria, which continues to deteriorate with the civilian population subjected to a broad range of human rights violations. Parties to the conflict are, in many cases, preventing necessary humanitarian services in direct violation of SCR 2139 (2014). The refugee crisis in neighboring countries also continues to worsen. The humanitarian community must continue to appropriately meet the specific needs of refugees created by the non-camp settings, where over 85% of refugees reside. Displaced women and girls, particularly those with disabilities and those separated from their families, remain at greater risk of gender-based violence and of receiving assistance meeting their basic needs. In line with SCR 2122 (2013), the Council should call on the new UN Special Envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, to regularly consult with women’s organizations and women leaders. The Council should call for women’s direct and meaningful representation within delegations to official negotiations, inclusion of women in related Track II efforts, and official consultative mechanisms designed to engage community-based women groups and civil society representatives.
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), 1960 (OPs 6, 13), 2106 (OPs 5, 6), and 2122 (OP 2(d)). Member States should inquire about any lack of such reporting. In view of the Security Council’s field visit to South Sudan and Somalia in August, we urge Council members to make implementation of the Council’s women, peace and security mandate a focus of the visit, in line with Council resolution 2122 (2013). As per the same resolution, Council members are reminded of their commitment to ensure that the visit includes interactive meetings with local women and women’s organizations.