Expected Security Council discussions regarding the Secretary General’s report on the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) must identify challenges and remedies regarding national and international efforts to advance women’s integration into the political, economic, and social life of Afghanistan. Given preparations for international forces to disengage militarily in 2014, as well as upcoming elections, all relevant international actors must ensure women’s rights are not sacrificed in any transition processes, and should ensure that women’s security, ability to move freely throughout the country, and political and economic participation are indicators of the transition’s success. The Council is therefore urged to:
- Call for strong measures to ensure the protection and participation of women human rights defenders, elected officials & voters in the next election;
- Strongly support the independence and effectiveness of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission;
- Continue the useful work that has been done on tracking enforcement of the EVAW Law, and tracking civilian casualties disaggregated by gender;
- Play an active role in monitoring all actions by the Afghan government and parliament that affect women’s rights, respond forcefully and immediately to any backsliding on women’s rights, and provide pressure and assistance to the government to implement the summer 2013 recommendations of the CEDAW committee and the Afghan National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security;
- Support efforts to address the needs of the internally displaced population, a large number of whom are women, by calling for the policy to be in line with international standards, finalized, and approved as soon as possible; and
- Ensure that the language encouraging women’s involvement in all efforts to establish a lasting peace in Afghanistan, including in peace jirgas and any peace negotiation process, is tied to concrete support and implementation.
As the Council discusses the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR), including the preliminary report of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) established to investigate violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in CAR, the specific violations targeting women should be discussed. Further, the Council should reinforce the need to fully resource and implement the mandate of the UN mission in CAR (MINUSCA), including its provisions for protection of civilians, and support for the transition process, which includes assisting the Transitional Authorities in ensuring women’s full and effective participation in all mediation, reconciliation, national dialogue, transitional justice and electoral processes (SCR 2149, OP 30(a)(b)(e). Further any benchmarks established for the new mission should include the participation of women in peace processes; protection of civilians, including women; and active participation of women’s civil society organizations in conflict resolution and transitional justice efforts, as measurements of success. 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 discussion of the expected report and expected mandate renewal of the UN peacekeeping mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), the Council should ensure comprehensive information is provided on ongoing impunity, in particular for sexual and gender-based violence, and on barriers to women’s full participation in justice and reconciliation processes, as per SCR 2106 (OP 16c) and SCR 2122 (OP 2c). In addition, the Council should enquire into progress made as to women’s participationin DDR programs as mandated by SCR 2112 (OP 6c), including the socio-economic factors affecting female ex-combatants and associates of ex-combatants, as detailed in SCR 2106 (OPs 16a, b). The Security Council should also promote women’s full participation and protection in electoral, security sector and judicial sector reform, as well as land reform, per SCR 2122 (OP 4).
In its renewal of the mandate for the UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA), the Council should ensure that the mission retains all relevant provisions related to women’s participation in conflict prevention and resolution efforts; as well as protection for women’s rights and efforts to combat human rights violations (SCR 2100, OPs 16, 25). Further, the mandate should continue to consider gender as a cross-cutting issue, as articulated in SCR 2100 (OP 25), which is necessary for the successful implementation of MINUSMA’s entire mandate and key for eventual peace and stability in Mali. Efforts to track and measure progress in Mali should include gender-specific benchmarks and analysis, and as per SCR 1889 (OP 9), the Council should ensure that women’s empowerment is factored into funding disbursement and post-conflict activities.
In the Council’s expected deliberations on the situation in South Sudan, Council members should ask specific questions regarding the participation of women in the myriad peace and the protection of women and girls. The UN estimates that the violence has claimed at least 10,000 civilian lives and left more than 1,000,000 displaced since mid-December with fewer than 10% residing with the protection of civilian (PoC) areas. As per SCR 2122 (2013), the Council should;
- Encourage the IGAD Special Envoys to push the opposing parties to continue its commitment to stakeholder participation, particularly of women, in the ongoing political talks and in the formation of the transitional government of national unity;
- Encourage the IGAD Special Envoys to ensure gender sensitization training is provided for all members of the Monitoring and Verification Teams and to mandate at least 50% of the community liaisons appointed to the Monitoring and Verification Teams are women.
As per SCR 2155 (2014), the Council should:
- Ensure UNMISS is adequately and appropriately resourced to implement its recently renewed mandate in an impartial, neutral, and gender sensitive manner;
- Ensure UNMISS devises a plan to effectively provide protection to MVTs, per the renewed mandate, that considers the safety of citizens, especially women, in reporting violations of the CoH;
- Encourage UNMISS to remain committed to the full and effective participation of women at all levels in the peacemaking process;
- Urge UNMISS to strengthen its engagement with communities in a safe and respectful manner, specifically women, and take full measures to guarantee compliance with the UN zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse;
The Council is expected to remain engaged on the situation in Syria, particularly as it discusses the expected report on its resolution 2139 (2014) on humanitarian access. Rather than being implemented, parties to the conflict are in many cases preventing necessary humanitarian services, and the situation in Syria continues to deteriorate, with the civilian population continuing to be subjected to a broad range of human rights violations. The refugee crisis in neighboring countries also continues to worsen. The humanitarian community must continue to appropriately meet the specific needs of refugees created by the non-camp settings, where over 85% of refugees reside. Without adequate service provision and support services, displaced women and girls’, particularly those with disabilities and those separated from their families, remain at greater risk of GBV and of not being able to meet their basic needs. In Jordan, there are knowledgeable and effective women’s groups who could greatly assist in this work. In addition to following up on SCR 2139, the Council should call for the implementation of SCR 2122(2013) by applying effective measures to ensure women’s participation in all political efforts to resolve this conflict, including the inclusion of women mediators in the next rounds of peace talks, assigning capable gender advisers to mediators, and a better involvement of grassroots women groups and civil society representatives with a clear and meaningful role in the negotiations.
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.