The forthcoming UNAMA report and mandate renewal come at a time of particular importance for Afghan women. The Council previously mandated UNAMA to coordinate efforts to ensure the full enjoyment by women of their human rights (SCR 1868, OP4g; OP8); stressed implementation of its resolutions on women, peace and security; and requested information on the integration of women into the political, economic and social life of Afghanistan (OP29). Despite this, Afghan women report widespread, ongoing violations of their rights and have voiced serious alarm about any peace talks with the Taliban, fearing their rights will be traded away or further compromised. In addition to ensuring it receives a comprehensive report on the women, peace and security situation in Afghanistan, the Council should:
- Consider hearing directly from a woman human rights defender at the open debate on the situation in Afghanistan;
- Demand that women are meaningfully represented in peace processes and their security ensured, as recommended by Afghan women leaders on the margins of the London Conference on Afghanistan in January;
- Demand the repeal of the National Reconciliation, General Amnesty and National Stability bill (published in the official gazette December 2009), which provides a blanket amnesty for those involved in past and present hostilities in Afghanistan.
In the forthcoming discussions over mandate renewal of MINURCAT, concerns for women’s safety should be central to discussions about the possible withdrawal of the UN Mission from Chad, where there is almost total impunity for sexual violence crimes committed by Chadian and Sudanese armed opposition groups, bandits and members of the Chadian security forces. No withdrawal of the mission should be considered at this time. Withdrawal would further endanger the security and rights of women in eastern Chad. The Council should:
- Renew MINURCAT’s mandate and authorize its continued deployment as per the Council’s original plan in SCR 1861;
- Ensure the phasing out of the mission is based on meeting the benchmarks the Secretary-General outlined in his December 2008 report to the Council. In this regard, it should require MINURCAT to work with the Chadian government to set out a plan for meeting key benchmarks and phasing down its operations.
- The mandate should ensure women’s participation in all aspects of planning, implementation and programming, including location and frequency of security patrols, education and livelihood opportunities, and reproductive health services.
- Monitoring and evaluation procedures should address human rights violations, especially violence against women and girls inside and outside of refugee camps, including increased resources for services for survivors.
As to the violence of 28th September, 2009, there should be no impunity for these crimes, including those of sexual violence. The Council, in its recent Presidential Statement on Guinea (S/PRST/2010/3), reaffirmed the importance of women in conflict resolution and peacebuilding. In addition to supporting the implementation of this recommendation, the Council should support adequate protection of witnesses in all justice proceedings and the reform of the Guinean security forces.
The MINUSTAH report is due in the Security Council this month. Physical and sexual violence against women and girls in Haiti was already considered a significant problem before the tragic earthquake of 12th January, 2010. The specific concerns of women in Haiti include:
- Shelter: women and girls must have access to safe spaces and shelter while displaced. Experts in gender and gender-based violence must be consulted on how make-shift or planned camps are organized;
- Security is a major concern, particularly in the large overcrowded camps. MINUSTAH should provide security, particularly to women, consistently and systematically in the camps and to ensure delivery of humanitarian relief;
- Goods and services must reach women and girls. Ensure distributions of food and other essential goods go directly into the hands of women and girls. Women’s and girls’ reproductive health needs must be met (i.e. health services; sanitary kits);
- Aid programs aimed at women should focus on restoring income, protecting assets, ensuring livelihoods, rebuilding and supporting local market-systems and stabilizing prices.
The forthcoming UNIPSIL report should redress the lack of information on women in the previous report, particularly regarding the involvement of women in efforts to build national capacity for elections; and by reporting on the UN joint vision, particularly on Gender Equality.
The Council should link effective policies and programs that prevent and respond to the illicit trafficking in small arms as an essential component of maintaining and promoting peace and security. This should include supporting the prevention of international arms transfers that have a substantial risk of fueling patterns of gender-based violence. The Council should also ensure support to local women’s small arms control initiatives through increased capacity-building, provision of resources and funding.
With the Secretary-General’s recent appointment of a Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, the Security Council and Member States should follow up on the Secretary-General’s forthcoming set of universal indicators to track implementation of 1325 (1889 OP17); and the Secretary-General’s upcoming proposals to strengthen the UN response to sexual violence in conflict (1888 OP26), which could include a gaps analysis report by an external expert. In this year of the 10th Anniversary of SCR 1325, the Council could also more systematically implement its commitment to meeting with women’s organizations on its missions (1325 OP15; reaffirmed in 1889 OP14).