For February, in which Kuwait has the presidency of the UN Security Council, the MAP provides recommendations on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Sudan (Darfur), Syria and Yemen.
In its discussion of the situation in the DRC and implementation of the 31 December 2016 agreement, the Security Council should ensure it discusses women’s participation in the implementation and monitoring of the 2016 Political Agreement. Past updates on the political situation were inconsistent in the information included; the most recent update in November 2017 (S/2017/963) provided only minimal statistics regarding women’s participation in electoral processes. Reporting by the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) in January 2018 (S/2018/16) has further underlined the importance of ensuring there are concrete and urgent efforts to ensure women are fully supported in efforts to run for public office and register to vote, noting a 5% decrease in female voter registration, and concerns from women’s organizations regarding the newly-signed electoral law. Given that women are 47% of the electorate in the DRC, in both the written update and briefings, there should be acknowledgement and analysis of the remaining significant barriers to women’s representation and participation in political and security processes, including but not limited to lack of political will, inadequate financing, and inconsistent implementation of gendered analysis of conflict and peacebuilding efforts, as well as relevant gender equality policy frameworks. Participation of smaller political groups in the political landscape must be ensured, especially during elections, regardless of their level of representation. The restrictions on democratic space throughout the country and ongoing targeting of civil society activists should also be of considerable concern to the Council (S/2017/565). Efforts to ensure women politicians, candidates, activists, and human rights defenders are protected should be prioritized in the context of implementation of the political agreement, the National Action Plan on Resolution 1325 (2000), and any national strategies aimed at combating sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) (CEDAW/C/COD/CO/6-7). The violence targeting women seeking to vote in past elections must be a priority in terms of efforts to ensure protection and promotion of women’s rights to fully participate in the electoral process. It is imperative that human rights violations continue to be monitored closely through consultation with civil society organizations (CSOs) and that perpetrators are identified, arrested, and prosecuted.
The Security Council is expected to consider a report and renew the mandate for the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS). The Council should address concerns surrounding Guinea-Bissau’s judicial system, which has allowed impunity and corruption to grow, particularly in cases involving SGBV (CEDAW/C/GNB/CO/6). Increased attention on legal reform must coincide with efforts to ensure women’s participation and the protection of women’s rights. The Council should consider strengthening the provisions in UNIOGBIS’s mandate to ensure consultation with women’s CSOs and to mainstream gender in security sector reform, national reconciliation processes, institution building and efforts to address the root causes of instability (S/RES/2122 (2013), OP 2(c)). Finally, the Council should call on UNIOGBIS to address the differentiated impact trafficking has, in all of its forms, on women and call for engagement and involvement of women’s CSOs in anti-trafficking efforts.
In its discussion of the most recent report on the United Nations–African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), the Security Council should address how the mission has supported women’s participation in peace processes and the establishment of security arrangements and transitional justice mechanisms. In the December 2017 report of the Secretary-General (S/2017/1113), there were several positive examples of activities undertaken by UNAMID that sought to engage women and women’s groups in mediation processes in Darfur (S/2017/1113, paras. 45, 46). In its February reporting, there should be updates on follow-up and sustained efforts to maintain the momentum created by these activities, as well as information on any lessons learned. Any women, peace and security (WPS)-related tasks undertaken in collaboration with the UN Country Team (UNCT) should remain fully supported as priorities; reporting and discussion should explore any challenges that face both UNAMID and UNCT in carrying out WPS activities. Further, Council members should follow-up on the ways in which UNAMID has incorporated a gender lens when assisting the large number internally displaced persons, as well as in its support for and provision of services to survivors of SGBV. Recent reporting has noted an emphasis on investigation, and psychosocial care for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) (S/2017/1113, para. 13); discussion and further reporting should provide more details on ways that UNAMID is addressing these challenges. Finally, the report should address how the mission is responding to the government’s disproportionate use of force against protesters and how the mission is supporting the International Criminal Court’s efforts to combat impunity and put an end to ongoing and widespread human rights violations and abuses.
In its consideration of a report on the humanitarian and political situation, the Council should call for gender-sensitive conflict, peacebuilding and humanitarian aid strategies; protection of civilians, particularly women and girls; upholding international humanitarian law; and the full and meaningful inclusion of women in all stages of the peace process and governance. These issues should be comprehensively reflected in future action taken by the Council, as it was completely lacking in SCR 2393 (2017), adopted in December 2017. Council members facilitating the Astana peace process must ensure women’s full and meaningful participation in the negotiations and operation of the de-escalation zones. They must also exert pressure to discourage warring parties from adopting a militaristic approach to the issue of detainees and those who were forcibly disappeared, and instead handle this file as an utmost humanitarian emergency. They must adhere to the commitments they have made to implement SCR 1325 (2000) and consecutive WPS resolutions in a transparent, accountable and sustainable way (CEDAW/C/SYR/CO/2). The Council must call on the Office of the Special Envoy for Syria to strengthen and enhance the role of the Syrian Women’s Advisory Board in the peace process, and ensure its framework for operation effectively incorporates Syrian women’s voices in all respects of the process. Given the deadlock on the issue of accountability, Council members should support the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) on international crimes committed in Syria. Ahead of April’s Brussels aid conference on Supporting Syria and the Region, to be co-chaired by the UN, women from Syrian civil society should be supported to participate meaningfully in preparatory discussions. This is to ensure gender considerations are more effectively reflected in the design and outcomes of the conference, in line with SCR 2242 (2015) (OP 1).
As the situation in Yemen worsens, the Council should promptly increase its efforts towards security and humanitarian assistance in the region. Grappling with a cholera outbreak and famine, the newly-appointed UN Special Envoy must press for securing permanent access routes for the delivery of critical aid and commercial goods, including food and medical supplies, across the country. Moreover, the Council should inquire about participation by women and women’s CSOs in conflict resolution and conflict management processes, as well as efforts to protect women, including women human rights defenders and civil society activists, and access to legal support and basic services. Council members should call for support of the national human rights monitoring and reporting mechanism to ensure that information and analysis is comprehensive and includes attention to attacks and threats against civil society. The Council should also specifically call on all parties to the conflict to include women, youth, and civil society representatives that reflect the diversity of Yemen’s population, including ethnic, geographical and political affiliation. More broadly, all stakeholders, including the Arab coalition, must ensure women’s meaningful participation in discussion, design, and implementation of peace and security strategies, including those which aim to counter violent extremism (S/RES/2122 (2013), OP 13; S/RES/2242 (2015), OP 13; CEDAW/C/YEM/Q/7-8). Finally, all efforts to address the humanitarian situation and implement peacebuilding strategies must be gender-sensitive and responsive to women’s differentiated experiences, including as heads of households (CEDAW/C/YEM/Q/7-8). To enable this to be done effectively, building the capacity of relevant experts and groups, including peacebuilding and women’s CSOs, to undertake gender-sensitive conflict analysis and translate it into concrete actions, must be a priority. Finally, any assistance should provide a full range of medical services, sexual and reproductive health services; legal; psychosocial; and livelihood services, and the need for access during conflict and post-conflict situations (S/RES/2122 (2013), CEDAW/C/YEM/Q/7-8).