The expected reports of the UN mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) should include substantial information, analysis, and recommendations on supporting women’s participation and accountability for violations of women’s rights, including via sex-disaggregated data and benchmarks. This includes the current humanitarian situation, including the situation for the approximately 1.3 million internally displaced people, many of whom are female-headed households; the risk to gains in women’s political participation and access to services as NATO transfers security responsibilities to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF); and the increasing restrictions on women’s freedom of movement and access to services due to conflict, particularly in the areas where anti-government groups are in control. The Council’s discussions of these reports, and any subsequent action by the Council, should include supporting women’s technical capacity building; support for the development and thorough implementation of the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security; holding the Afghan government accountable to their national and international obligations regarding women’s leadership and decision-making roles; and ensuring women are central to all security sector, judicial, and good governance reforms, via consultation and inclusion of women, and conditioning funding on this inclusion. Council members should build on measures to reduce civilian casualties and intensify efforts to improve the conduct, responsiveness and accountability of the ANSF in order to enhance their capacity to protect civilians.
In its expected renewal of the mandate of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (MONUSCO), the Security Council must maintain protection of civilians as a top priority, which includes supporting women’s full participation at all levels of decision-making regarding this protection. The Council must address the urgent and deepening instability in Eastern DRC, including the desertion of FARDC soldiers allegedly under the command of ICC-indicted Bosco Ntaganda, the formation of a new armed group, the surge in violence involving the FDLR, and the proliferation of arms and weapons. With current high levels of displacement, attention must be given to the particular vulnerability of women and girls. The persistent lack of accountability for crimes in DRC, including mass rape in Walikale in 2010 and in the area around Fizi in 2011, further exacerbates the security concerns in these communities. Compounding these concerns is a lack of national cohesion. In discussions regarding MONUSCO’s mandate, the Council should:
- Urgently address the insecurity in Eastern DRC, including protection of women and girls who have been displaced;
- Ensure it focuses on and supports reconstruction of state authority through national cohesion programs;
- Highlight the regional dimensions of the conflict in eastern DRC;
- Support all national efforts and obligations regarding women’s rights, including full respect for constitutional clauses ensuring gender equality, and full implementation of the National Action Plan on 1325, including resourcing of the plan;
- Take concrete steps to end illegal weapons flows in the country, and the illegal exploitation of minerals;
- Prioritize comprehensive security sector reform, including a vetting mechanism to remove senior officers with a record of serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law and bring them to justice;
- Support the fight against impunity, including by holding the DRC government to account for the lack of prosecution of suspected perpetrators of sexual violence, and for inadequate witness protection and service provision for survivors;
- Demand the arrest of all perpetrators for these crimes, including Bosco Ntaganda and Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka, and provide the DRC government with the support necessary to enact these arrests; and
- Ensure MONUSCO’s prioritization of protection of civilians (as in previous mandate SCR 1991), and ensure this mandate is fully resourced and implemented.
In its discussions regarding the situation in Libya, the Security Council should ensure it remains fully apprised of women’s full and equal participation in the upcoming elections, and the selection of the constituent assembly. The Security Council should condemn attempts by the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) to prevent accountability for serious and ongoing crimes committed in Libya, including as per Security Council resolution (S/RES/1970) references to the ICC. The Council should be briefed fully on the findings of the investigation into civilian casualties caused by NATO air strikes following the military operation in Libya.
In the Security Council’s discussion of Protection of Civilians, the Council should review obstacles to enhancing accountability for violations of international human rights, and of humanitarian and refugee law, in particular against women and girls in conflict-affected situations. The Council should also focus on how to concretely implement existing norms related to protection of civilians, including through the resources available in the Protection of Civilians Aide Memoire (S/PRST/2010/25), especially those pertaining to women’s participation and other women, peace and security issues.
The violence in Syria continues to worsen as the civilian population continues to be killed, tortured, and their rights violated, including through ongoing arbitrary arrests and detentions. In its discussion on the situation in Syria, the Security Council should ensure the Syrian government fully cooperates with the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) to implement the joint six-point plan. We again ask the Security Council to impose an arms embargo on Syria; to impose targeted sanctions against Syrian leaders implicated in human rights violations, following a fair and transparent process; and to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court. Member States of the United Nations, including Members of the Security Council, should ensure they immediately cease any and all military sales and assistance. The Security Council should ensure there is a strong human rights monitoring component in UNSMIS, which must include gender expertise. This component should be well resourced and equipped to ensure victims of human rights abuses, including women, are protected from retaliation. These experts should be in a position to recognize people who are arbitrarily detained, protect interviewees from retaliation, ensure the confidentiality and safekeeping of interviews, and interview women who have been sexually abuse and children who have been tortured.
In the Council’s consideration of the report of the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA), in light of the ongoing instability in Mali, the Security Council should ensure UNOWA supports the full engagement of women in ongoing efforts for peaceful resolution in both areas of that country, as well as the region broadly. The Council should also ensure it inquires into and takes action on the specific rights and protection concerns of women. The Council should urge all parties to the conflict in the region immediately issue orders prohibiting mistreatment of persons in custody and prohibiting rape, pillage, and other violations of international humanitarian law, and should support monitoring and investigation of all human rights abuses.
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) and 1960 (OP 6, 13). Member States should inquire about any lack of such reporting.