The Security Council is expected to review the Central African Republic (CAR) sanctions regime Panel of Experts (PoE) mandate in February. 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 still remains displaced and widespread attacks on civilians continue, which may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, including exceedingly high rates of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) against women without necessary services and/or judicial recourse in many areas of the country. Further, there have been documented cases of perpetrators targeting women and girls suspected of interacting with people on the other side of the sectarian divide. It is imperative that human rights continue to be monitored and individuals and entities participating in acts that undermine peace, stability and security in CAR are identified. In the mandate of the PoE, the Security Council should:
- Call for the collection and analysis of information on violations of human rights, including SGBV, exploitation and abuse by all parties, including targeting women and girls, through consultation with civil society organizations during field visits (per SCR 2122 (2013), OP 6) and briefings by the SRSG on SViC & UN-Women (per SCR 1960 (2010), OP 7);
- Call for the inclusion of gender expertise in the PoE to support the consideration of gender as a cross-cutting issue across the work of the PoE and the Committee (per SCR 2242 (2015), OP 6); and
- Call for the inclusion of information on the situation for women, including sex and age disaggregated analysis of data collection, and gender analysis throughout all interim and annual reports.
In establishing a political mission of unarmed international observers for an initial period of 12 months (per SCR 2261 (2016)), the Council must commit to fully implement the WPS agenda and support and strengthen all previous efforts by the two parties to foster an inclusive peace process, including by working closely with the Gender Sub-Committee and the group of gender experts. Any steps must include women’s civil society, particularly Afro-Colombian and indigenous women’s civil society organizations. The political mission must be specifically mandated to ensure justice institutions are accessible and accountable to survivors of SGBV. Specific attention must be paid to reintegrating women and girl ex-combatants, ensuring reintegration assistance, including psychosocial and livelihood support, is tailored to women and girls needs. Further, the mission must ensure women and their rights are at the forefront in the design and implementation of early-warning strategies and ceasefire monitoring mechanisms (per SCR 2261 (2016), OP 3). Ultimately, the Council must ensure all staff receive pre-deployment sensitization training on gender issues, particularly when engaging with survivors of the conflict, including survivors of SGBV.
The Security Council is expected to renew the mandate of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS). The Council should ensure UNIOGBIS, as a priority, addresses concerns surrounding Guinea-Bissau’s judicial system, which, if left unchecked, will allow impunity and corruption to grow. Increased attention on legal reform must coincide with efforts to ensure women’s participation and the protection of women’s rights. The Council should call for consultations with women and women’s civil society organizations (per SCR 2122 (2013), OP 2(c)). Furthermore, women should be included as leaders and stakeholders in ongoing security sector reform, national reconciliation processes, institution building and addressing the root causes of instability. Finally, the Council must acknowledge the role drug trafficking has on undermining rule of law and stabilization reforms, take measures to address the differentiated impact drug trafficking has on women and acknowledge and encourage women’s role in addressing drug trafficking.
The Security Council is expected to consider a report on the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). The Council should inquire as to how UNMIL is ensuring its work is gender-sensitive and encouraging women’s participation in its protection of civilians, reform of the justice and security sectors, and promotion and protection of human rights. The Security Council should request information on how UNMIL is prioritizing the participation of women in decision-making in conflict prevention, resolution and peacebuilding, and institution building and reform (per SCR 2239 (2015), OP 2). The Council should ensure preparations for the government’s assumption of full responsibility for security in June 2016 take women’s specific concerns into consideration, including SGBV’s link with arms trafficking. The Council should consider a successful security transition as one that ensures and protects women’s human rights and includes women’s participation.
In its consideration of sanctions in South Sudan, the Council must incorporate a gender perspective and address women’s concerns in the situation as a whole, including condemning SGBV and building on commitments in its women, peace and security resolutions. Given the severe political, humanitarian and security situation, the Council should ensure there is recognition within the monitoring and implementation of sanctions regarding the link between small arms and light weapons and SGBV, in addition to specifically including SGBV as a criteria for sanctions. Designation criteria should also be harmonized with existing charges from international justice mechanisms. Reporting on sanctions should include the gender dimensions of the situation and the context for SGBV, ensuring relevant expert groups for sanctions committees have the necessary gender expertise (per SCR 2242 (2015), OP 6).
In its consideration of the report on the humanitarian situation, the Council must ensure the meaningful participation of Syrian women, girls, civil society and human rights defenders in the design and implementation of gender-sensitive humanitarian aid strategies (per SCR 2122 (2013) and SCR 2242 (2015)), ensuring 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. The Council must address restrictions on humanitarian aid in hard-to-reach and besieged areas and focus on the situation of IDPs, including addressing the security and humanitarian concerns of displaced women and prevalence of SGBV in IDP camps. The Council should also call on governments of countries receiving Syrian refugees to enforce rule of law on the legal age of marriage and implement measures to prevent early and forced marriages. The Council should support and implement a strong ceasefire applicable to all warring parties to the conflict. In implementing SCR 2254 (2015), the Council must ensure Syrian women’s meaningful participation in the UN-facilitated political process, endorsed by the Council. 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.