The situation in CAR continues to be serious, with persistent violence, insecurity, and political and religious tensions. The majority of people displaced have not returned home, and widespread attacks on civilians continue, which include high rates of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) against women. In the expected renewal of the mandate of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA):
- The Security Council should maintain the existing request for MINUSCA to consider gender as a cross-cutting issue across all of MINUSCA’s work (SCR 2217 (2015), OP 40) and retain the additional mandate provisions requesting MINUSCA ensure women’s protection and support women’s participation (SCR 2217 (2015), OP 32 (a)(iii), (b)(iv), (b)(v), (e)(ii)). This should include emphasis on ensuring a more gender-responsive MINUSCA Police Force, increasing the size and distribution of the force, with a higher percentage of female personnel as well as training for national counterparts.
- The Security Council should strengthen the language on protection of civilians by including a specific call to consider concerns of women, when developing and implementing MINUSCA’s protection strategy. The strategy must respond to communities’ protection concerns rapidly and appropriately, including through: (1) Increased community engagement in a safe and respectful manner; (2) Recruitment of additional Community Liaison Assistants (CLAs), with a particular emphasis on recruiting women and ensuring CLAs have a strong voice within the mission; and (3) Enhanced mechanisms for women and communities to safely and confidentially report protection concerns and receive a timely response with effective accountability mechanisms.
- There should be an increased emphasis on ensuring that MINUSCA has the capacity to support women’s participation in reconciliation processes, including national dialogues and transitional justice. There should be a specific call for the mission to regularly engage with civil society organizations, including women’s organizations, and the four, recently appointed women cabinet members to ensure inclusion at all levels of political and security processes.
- The Security Council should include new and strengthened language on sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA), reflecting the recommendations of the recent independent review of CAR as well as SCR 2272 (2016) and further call for an emphasis on the code of conduct, accompanied by SEA prevention trainings for all military officers, integrated mission staff, and contingent focal points. Before deployment and training, peacekeepers must be vetted in accordance with the UN’s zero tolerance policy, and perpetrators of SEA must be brought to justice. The Council should request MINUSCA to monitor the living and working conditions for all its troops to enable an environment that is conducive to the protection of civilians.
The Security Council is expected to renew the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). The Council should recognize the critical role women continue to play in the Cyprian peace process and support efforts to ensure women’s full and meaningful participation in the on-going negotiations in the operative paragraphs of the UNFICYP mandate. Furthermore, references to the participation of civil society in the peace process must be strengthened (S/RES/2263, OP 3(d)) and include direct provisions for women’s organizations. Additionally, all relevant UN offices in Cyprus should support the inclusion of women as full participants and integrate a gender perspective throughout the peace process to ensure gender concerns are addressed in any eventual outcomes.
In its consideration of a report on the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), the Security Council must urge accountability for serious human rights violations, including sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) against women and girls. SGBV against ethnic and religious minorities is currently used in a widespread and systematic manner by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ Da’esh), and may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. There are further reports of human rights violations and abuses carried out by militia and tribal forces (Shi’a, Sunni and others), popular mobilization units (PMUs), and Peshmerga (pro-Government forces), such as forced disappearances, abductions, and forced evictions. The Council should consider the following recommendations:
- Implement fully and fund Iraq’s National Action Plan (NAP) on SCR 1325 (2000) in consultation with civil society organizations, including organizations focused on peacebuilding and women’s organizations.
- Support UN-Women’s development of a research program on the recruitment of women to armed groups, and strengthen the capacity of women’s organizations to prevent violent extremism and ensure access to services.
- Apply a gender lens to humanitarian assistance efforts throughout the country, particularly in the provision of medical care, ongoing psychosocial counseling and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, as mandated by SCR 2122 (2013), which includes access to emergency contraception and safe abortion services.
- Increase support to Iraqi organizations meeting immediate needs of civilians, including women fleeing violence;
- Urge the Government of Iraq to clarify the shelter policy and allow Iraqi NGOs to operate shelters.
- End impunity for all armed actors, both state and non-state, and ensure that crimes are investigated and perpetrators are brought to justice in line with international humanitarian and human rights law.
- Expand current documentation efforts on sexual slavery to include other crimes including crimes against women as human rights defenders, LGBT persons, and others who defy gender stereotypes.
In Somalia, many of the over 1.1 million protracted internally displaced persons, whose numbers are likely to increase if Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya is closed, continue to face a high risk of forced evictions, discrimination, violation of human rights and pervasive SGBV. These communities need the government to ensure land tenure and property rights, and adequate and safe shelter, whether permanent or transitional, as well as access to household items, protection services, local integration and durable solutions. As the Council renews the mandate of AMISOM, following their recent mission to Somalia, the Council should call on the mission to consider gender as a cross-cutting issue in the implementation of its mandate. In addition, the Council must call on Somali authorities, AMISOM and UNSOM to ensure women and girls are protected from sexual violence, including sexual exploitation and abuse, as specified in SCR 2102 (2013) (OP 11). The Council should, additionally, call on Somali authorities and mandate AMISOM and UNSOM to protect women politicians, journalists, human rights defenders and civil society leaders and bring to justice perpetrators who target women leaders. The Council must also call on Somali authorities and AMISOM to ensure women, girls, boys and other non-combatant males are protected and provide safe passage to civilians, during military offensives to recapture towns under Al-Shabaab control. Finally, Somalia government and members should continue to coordinate with civil society and security sector actors to promote women’s full participation in the implementation of the 2014 National Action Plan (NAP) on Sexual Violence in Conflict and the national Sexual Offence Bill, currently pending parliamentary approval.
In its consideration of the report on the humanitarian situation, the Council should call for meaningful participation of Syrian women, girls, civil society, including women’s organizations, and human rights defenders in the design and implementation of gender-sensitive humanitarian aid strategies (SCR 2122 (2013) and SCR 2242 (2015)). The Council should also ensure 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 in humanitarian assistance. Reporting should reflect local civil society, including women’s organizations, to ensure agreements are gender-sensitive and grounded in the experiences of local populations. Reporting should reinforce the importance of ensuring Syrian women’s meaningful participation in the UN-facilitated political process through ongoing and regular consultations with the women’s advisory board. All mechanisms established to facilitate civil society participation should be fully resourced, supported, and accessible.
In the report from the Secretary-General on the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA), Council members should expect information and analysis regarding the regional implementation of the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda, given UNOWA’s strong mandate, which calls for gender and WPS to be considered throughout their work. UNOWA’s WPS strategy and collaboration with ECOWAS on a sub-regional plan of action for implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) serve as good practice examples that should be maintained and strengthened at the regional level. The international community should ensure regional efforts have political and financial support to build the capacity of women leaders and women civil society organizations in urban and rural areas. Women leaders and civil society organizations should be able to fully participate on a regular basis in strategies and efforts to combat violent extremism, electoral and political processes, and other peacebuilding efforts in the region.