The Security Council’s discussion of the forthcoming report on the UN mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) should inquire into information, analysis, and recommendations on the lack of progress in women’s participation in political life, and address the continuing threats to women’s security. The Council should call for increased efforts to end the targeting of women and women’s rights defenders, including ensuring their protection, and ensure support for a strengthened and independent Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission. The Council should ensure that the UN presence maintains a robust human rights monitoring and reporting role. The Council should support efforts for meaningful participation of Afghan women and their security concerns in all peace talks, all reintegration and reconciliation discussions, and in all preparations for the 2014 elections. The Council should continue to stress that women’s human rights must not be compromised in connection with the transition of security to the Afghan National Security Forces or in peace talks with the Taleban or insurgent groups. The Council should be clear that members of the Afghan government and insurgent groups must not be granted impunity for war crimes and crimes against humanity, and it must call for an immediate end to attacks by the Taleban and armed groups on women and girls, as well as on humanitarian organizations. The Council should strongly urge the government to reject the recently proposed amendments to the country’s Penal Code, by Afghanistan’s Ministry of Justice and the Ministerial Committee of Shari’a and Traditional Penalty and Investigating Crimes, which include reinstatement of punishments dating to the Taliban area. Among them are public stoning to death for “adultery” by married people, and flogging of up to 100 lashes for unmarried people found guilty of “adultery”. These amendments are contrary to the country’s international human rights obligations, and the Council should call on Afghanistan to uphold its commitment to improving and monitoring human rights.
The situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) continues to worsen, with civilians bearing the brunt of the conflict and the absence of rule of law in the country. The Council should support the deployment of gender advisers, women protection advisers, and child protection advisers to focus on violations and abuses committed against women and children, including all forms of sexual violence in armed conflict, as stated in SCR 2121 (2013). The Council should further discuss the extent to which additional resources are forthcoming, and will be maintained moving forward, in order to ensure that women are not only protected, but that their participation in any peace process, as well as peacebuilding efforts and future elections, is supported to the fullest extent. The Security Council should also ensure MISCA has all the support it needs to deploy – in adequate numbers and with the necessary training – resources and capacity to protect civilians from harm, with the strict application of the UN Human Rights Due Diligence Policy. The Council should seriously consider the possibility of transforming MISCA into a United Nations peacekeeping operation, without delay, if this would be the most effective tool for the protection of the civilian population. The Council should 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.
In its consideration of the Secretary General’s reports on MONUSCO and the implementation of the PSC Framework, the Council should follow up on its November PRST 2013/17, which calls for “…the equal and full inclusion of women at all stages of conflict resolution, reconstruction and the promotion of peace including through taking account of the call of the 11 July 2013 Bujumbura Declaration for ensuring that benchmarks, indicators and follow-up measures of the plan of implementation for the PSC Framework are gender-sensitive.” The Council should also inquire into specific information on: targeted attacks of any nature on women, including women human rights defenders; the impact of the humanitarian situation on women and girls; consultation with women’s human rights organizations in all stabilization and peace consolidation efforts; and the centrality of women’s rights to electoral, security sector, DDR, and judicial reform. Further, the reports should discuss the activation and implementation of state initiatives that would support human rights defenders, such as the Liaison Entity, the Protection Cell for human rights defenders, and the National Commission for Human Rights.
The Council is expected to discuss a report of the Secretary-General and extend the mandate of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF). This mandate renewal should include gender-specific language, inter alia in: support for civilian populations, including women, affected by the current crisis; engagement of women in political solutions to the violence; gender-specific humanitarian responses; and mandatory comprehensive gender training for troops.
With the recent unanimous adoptions of Security Council Resolutions 2124 and 2125 on the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and anti-piracy measures in Somalia, respectively, the Council is now expected to discuss the forthcoming report from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). In its discussion, the Council should promote women’s full participation: in the constitutional review process, in dialogues with Somali regional actors on the federal system, in the implementation of the Somali Compact, and in all efforts to find a political solution to the ongoing armed violence, as well as the specific steps the UN will take to support such activities. The Council should also ensure the report covers progress made in implementing SCR 2102 (2013), including OPs 2(d) and 2(e) mandating UNSOM to help prevent, monitor, investigate, and report on abuses and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. Crucially, the Council must call on Somali authorities and AMISOM to make certain that women and children are protected from sexual violence and exploitation, and must send an unequivocal message to perpetrators, law enforcement officials and peacekeepers that sexual violence will not be tolerated.
The situation in Syria continues to deteriorate, as the civilian population continues to be subjected to a broad range of human rights violations. Men, women, and children have been subject to rape and sexual assault, with women and girl survivors at increased risk of exploitation through forced marriage. Humanitarian aid is underfunded, and current support is not adequately addressing gender specific concerns. Many of those fleeing Syria also face dire conditions in neighboring countries. The Presidential Statement of 2 October has had little to no effect on the humanitarian situation. As per the UN Guidelines for Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Settings, UN humanitarian assistance providers should ensure that survivors have information about and access to these services. Regarding political efforts to resolve the conflict, women’s participation in peace negotiations, including Geneva II, must be fully supported, in order to ensure their rights are protected and promoted in any political solution. This entails women’s participation as negotiators, technical experts, and mediators, and technical expertise on the gender dimensions of all issues discussed during these negotiations. The Security Council should refer the situation in Syria to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.
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.