The resolutions authorizing mandates of the UN mission and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan explicitly refer to the resolutions on Women Peace and Security. However, relevant reporting has been uneven. Firstly, the quarterly report on ISAF operations is overdue. Secondly, although the last UN Secretary-General report (S/2009/475) condemned the severe legislative restrictions on women’s rights, the benchmarks in this report did not address the root causes of these restrictions including the need for women’s empowerment, nor women’s specific security concerns.
- The next UN Secretary-General report on Afghanistan is due mid-December, and presents an opportunity to review good practices regarding reporting on women peace and security in country situations.
As noted in November’s NGOWG MAP, the situation for women and girls in the DRC remains dire. In December’s review of the MONUC mandate, the Security Council has the opportunity to address some of the difficulties and concerns regarding the implementation of MONUC’s previous mandate. Specific action by the Council should include:
- Women protection advisors (WPAs) in the role of monitoring, reporting, and devising protection strategies. WPAs would liaise with MONUC’s joint protection teams and Congolese NGOs working on issues of concern to women and girls; gather information on the risks facing women and girls; devise protection strategies to mitigate these risks; ensure communication with the work of child protection advisors; and harness a system-wide UN response to implement those strategies.
- Regarding operation Kimia II, any continuation of MONUC’s support to FARDC must be conditional upon compliance by FARDC units and commanders with human rights law and international humanitarian law. The impact of Kimia II on civilian populations must be taken into account, as per the priority the Council has given to protection of civilians in the MONUC mandate.
- The arms embargo should be strictly enforced and should apply to all those suspected of committing violations of human rights or international humanitarian law. The Sanctions Committee should act promptly on the findings of the group of experts. When selecting individuals targeted for sanctions the Security Council should follow a process that is transparent and based on clear criteria and a uniformly applied standard of evidence. Those subject to sanctions must have direct access to an effective, independent, review mechanism.
- Vetting and training of integrated forces, including, human rights and protection training should be mandatory.
- The mandate renewal should include an explicit obligation to support and protect human rights defenders.
- Those indicted at national and international levels should be arrested for international crimes, including crimes of sexual violence.
The only women, peace and security emphasis of the UN mandates in both the Golan Heights and Cyprus has been on sexual exploitation and abuse by the troops monitoring the cease fire. In both countries, any future mandate renewal should require comprehensive and robust gender-specific awareness training for these troops. In addition, as landmines and unexploded ordinance pose huge risks to civilians, especially women and girls, the Security Council should ask for an update on that situation, particularly how these missions are ensuring adequate health care for those maimed by landmines.
The Secretary-General’s Commission of Inquiry has been appointed and is investigating the situation in Guinea. The Security Council should support this commission’s specific attention to the reports of targeted violence against women in its investigation. The commission should involve civil society, and ensure that adequate security measures are provided to protect witnesses, victims and their families, staff and others associated with the inquiry. The commission’s findings and recommendations should be officially proclaimed and disseminated publicly without undue delay. The recommendations should include measures for redress and guarantees of non-repetition. Women should be represented during talks regarding power-sharing in the country. These talks should include women’s rights and interests.
The Security Council and Member States should follow up on the recommendation in Security Council resolution 1888 on Women Peace and Security for the appointment of a Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG). We encourage the Security Council to ensure the SRSG and her/his office has the expertise, credibility, and authority to effectively discharge the mandate. Effectively addressing sexual violence requires a holistic approach that includes taking into account issues of prevention, protection, women’s participation, and access to services for survivors of sexual violence.
The Security Council should also continue to follow up on the recommendations in Security Council resolutions 1888 and 1889, including the deployment of a team of experts focused on ending impunity for sexual violence (1888 OP8); the Secretary-General’s upcoming proposals to strengthen the UN response to sexual violence in conflict (1888 OP26); and the Secretary-General’s forthcoming set of universal indicators to track implementation of 1325 (1889 OP17).