The Secretary-General’s next three-monthly report to the Council on developments in Afghanistan is due in December, as per S/RES/1917 (2010). The situation for women, including human rights defenders and newly-elected officials, remains highly insecure. The Secretary-General’s next report should identify what national and international measures are now necessary to better prevent and respond to attacks on women, and bring perpetrators to justice. In view of the ongoing efforts at reintegration and reconciliation, the Council must ensure that human rights, in particular women’s rights, are not sacrificed in efforts to reach a political solution to the ongoing violence.
In December, the Council will discuss the forthcoming mandate renewal of BINUB, the mission in Burundi. Burundi continues to delay in the establishment of transitional justice mechanisms, including a truth and reconciliation process, and a Special Chamber for prosecution of international crimes, which they have repeatedly promised to put in place. These mechanisms are necessary to bring justice to victims of sexual violence, as well as other crimes committed during the armed conflict. The SC should push harder for the establishment of these mechanisms. Specific entry points for the Council on women, peace and security include:
- Training of police officers in dealing with sexual violence, and hiring more women police officers. Local police stations are currently unfriendly places for victims, meaning women often give up before officially filing a complaint.
- Encourage support by UN Team of Experts to develop better practices on police investigation on sexual violence, including by emphasizing the use of psychological expert witnesses and testimony.
The full withdrawal of the UN Mission in Chad (MINURCAT) is due on 31 December, as per SCR 1923 (2010), and will not be followed by another UN mission. Given the history of insecurity and human rights violations in Chad, there is great concern about a potential ensuing crisis for civilians in the country. The capacity of the Chadian government to provide security for the civilian population in eastern Chad continues to be a major concern in light of a culture of near total impunity, particularly for crimes against women and girls. With the withdrawal of the UN Mission fast approaching, the Council must now maintain a high level of engagement in eastern Chad to ensure that the security situation does not deteriorate. In particular, the Security Council should ensure that the Chadian government implements a detailed and transparent program for civilian protection in eastern Chad, including by sustaining the Détachement intégré de sécurité (DIS) after MINURCAT’s departure.
In the wake of the long-delayed elections, the Council will discuss the UN mission in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI), which is due for renewal at the end of December. Given that women and girls are often subject to crimes of sexual violence, including rape, the Council should ensure the mission including its leadership and human rights unit monitor regularly provide public reports on rights violations, and that the mission is working with the Cote d’Ivoire government to ensure protection of civilians is a priority.
The Council is due to renew the mandate of its Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED). As recalled in SCR 1805 (2008), CTED is mandated to advise on the compliance of counter-terrorism measures with international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law. In renewing CTED’s mandate, the Council should ensure that UN advice and technical assistance, including through country visits, considers the specific impact of terrorism and counter-terrorism measures on women and girls. This requires continued and strengthened cooperation with relevant UN entities, including UN Women and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Given the ongoing violence around the presidential elections in Guinea, the Council should remain actively engaged in all efforts to ensure the political transition there is peaceful and democratic. In addition, the Council should ensure it supports monitoring for gender-based effects of the surge in post-election violence, including monitoring impunity for sexual violence committed last year. UN Office for West Africa needs to monitor, in particular, pervasiveness of sexual violence, whether organized or not, in connection with the elections.
Darfur / South Sudan / Sudan
With the upcoming referenda scheduled for early January 2011, there are risks to women and girls that need to be considered and addressed should conflict break out in the South. Disarmament operations continuing throughout South Sudan have already led to serious abuses against women and girls, including torture to get information about the location of arms in different communities. In addition, in light of the wave of attack against civilians in Darfur, and the blocking of aid delivery, the Council must monitor the specific effect of this on women. Specific entry points for the Council include:
- Ensuring wider cooperation with the International Criminal Court (ICC), as per SCR 1593, to ensure the arrest and surrender of ICC suspects such as President al-Bashir. The Council should ensure it is engaged with the African Union on this matter, ensuring collaboration with regional bodies.
- Ensuring that contingency plans to protect women during the referenda are a UN priority in Sudan.
- Promoting access for women and girls associated with fighting forces to participate in the electoral process. In particular alternative education and vocational training programs must specifically target young women associated with fighting forces.
- With an estimated 1.5 million persons with disabilities in South Sudan, the Council should support the government in ensuring that persons with disabilities, particularly women, are able to fully participate in the upcoming referendum.
The Council will be discussing the Secretary-General’s report on Sexual Violence in Conflict in December, requested in S/RES/1888 (2009). The Council should take this opportunity to further establish accountability on this key Women, Peace and Security issue, including through clearly identifying remaining gaps in how the international community acts to end sexual violence in conflict, and by establishing a clear system for monitoring and responding to these crimes. It is important for the Council to emphasize that typically, sexual violence drastically increases during situations of armed conflict and additional measures must be taken to ensure perpetrators are held accountable. The Council should also recognize that particular populations, including women with disabilities and ethnic minorities, are particularly at risk of sexual violence in conflict, and the UN and governments should ensure that programs and funding for survivors of these crimes are inclusive of and accessible to such women.