Expected Security Council discussions regarding the Secretary-General’s report and mandate renewal of 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 by 2014, as well as upcoming elections, all relevant international actors must ensure women’s rights are not sacrificed in these processes, and should ensure that women’s security and ability to move freely throughout the country 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 candidates and voters in the next election;
- Strongly support the independence and effectiveness of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC);
- 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, to be finalized and approved as soon as possible;
- Ensure the mandate gives strong support for senior gender expertise and advice; and
- Ensure that the language encouraging women’s involvement in all efforts to establish a lasting peace in Afghanistan, including in peace jirgas, is tied to concrete support and implementation.
Given ongoing concerns regarding violations of women’s human rights in the country, in itsdiscussion of the report on the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA), the Council should inquire into impunity for atrocities committed by the LRA, including what efforts are being made to ensure justice systems are established and LRA leaders are apprehended. Vetting and gender training of armed forces is necessary, as is attention to the protection of civilians in all areas of the country. The Council should ensure the report provides specific information, analysis and recommendations on how BINUCA will address women’s protection concerns, given the current situation in CAR, and how barriers to women’s participation will be overcome.
Given discussions in the Council regarding potential modification of MONUSCO, and the recently signed peace agreement, any discussions the Council holds on the situation and anydecisions the Council takes on DRC must ensure they place women’s rights at their core. As discussions about the potential intervention brigade move forward, it is critical that measures be in place to mitigate the probable increase in displacement, retaliatory attacks by armed groups, and sexual violence. The ongoing impunity for violations of human rights, particularly women’s human rights, in the country continues to be a scourge that undermines all efforts to bring lasting peace to the country and the region. In addition, the continuing barriers to women’s substantive engagement in peace processes are an indicator of the lack of inclusivity and transparency. The Security Council must ensure its effort truly supports the people of DRC, including by supporting effective and fully-resourced comprehensive approaches to combatting sexual violence in conflict; ensuring full support for women’s substantive engagement in political decision-making around security, specifically in displacement settings in North Kivu; supporting women’s emergency access to basic health and psychosocial services, and women’s access to livelihood opportunities; and that security actors act to ensure women’s protection and human rights, including in the areas around camps and spontaneous sites in North Kivu.
In its discussions of the expected report on SCR 2048 and the humanitarian situation in Guinea-Bissau, the Council should inquire into the ongoing challenges to and give support for women’s participation in conflict prevention, political processes, peacebuilding efforts, as well as women’s role in security sector reform. These discussions should also detail gender-specific concerns regarding the current humanitarian situation, review efforts to ensure justice for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, including psychosocial support, and update efforts on the adoption of a National Policy for Equality. The Security Council should support women’s engagement in efforts to build trust following the coup. The expected UN assessment of the situation must include a comprehensive gender analysis, and gender-specific recommendations.
In its discussions of the situation in Mali, particularly regarding a possible UN peacekeeping force in the country, the Council should ensure that any such plans include support for women’s full participation in conflict prevention and resolution, and the cessation of human rights abuses, including sexual and gender-based violence. The Council should ensure expedited deployment of UN civilian personnel for UNOM, particularly human rights monitors and gender experts. Any UN presence in Mali must be equipped with all necessary resources, including strong gender expertise, to independently monitor the adherence of all parties to the conflict to international humanitarian and human rights law, and must submit public and regular reports to the Council on its findings. The Security Council should clarify how the transition of forces will include implementation of the UN’s due diligence policy regarding vetting, inter alia mechanisms to screen out, and suspend or remove, from all security forces individuals reasonably suspected of having committed crimes under international law or other human rights abuses. Concerted efforts must be made to ensure comprehensive protection of civilians, in particular women. An urgent upscale is still needed in specialized gender-based violence (GBV) service delivery with humanitarian organizations leading the GBV response, and continuous support from the GBV Sub-Cluster leadership.
The Council will be renewing the mandate of the UN mission in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL), most likely for the final time, as the UNIPSIL mission is due to drawdown, with transition to a UN country team (UNCT). At this time of major transition, it is vital that women continue to receive political and financial resources to ensure their full and equal engagement in Sierra Leone’s future. This is particularly important regarding support for women-led civil society organizations. The Council should send a strong message that the gains for women must be consolidated in the transition to the UNCT, and that Member State resources must support this consolidation. In its renewal, the Council should reiterate its support for OP 13 of SCR 2005 (2011), with its commitment to mainstream women, peace and security.
When renewing the mandate of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), the Security Council should strongly urge the government to ensure that its security forces and affiliated militias, and all actors engaged in military operations, respect international humanitarian law and human rights law, and prioritize the rights of civilians, including women and children. As the UN system continues to review its role and presence in Somalia, human rights considerations, including women’s rights, should be at the forefront of the exercise and included as a key component in any reconfigured UN presence.
Abyei / South Sudan / Sudan
The Security Council is expected to discuss the situation in Sudan and South Sudan, including reports on the UN mission in Abyei (UNISFA) and the UN mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). The Council should inquire into any lack of gender-specific data, analysis and recommendations, in these reports, including on violations of women’s and girl’s human rights; the inclusion of measures to protect women’s and girls’ human rights in national security policy frameworks; women’s share of positions in the UNMISS field positions; number of senior gender experts in UNMISS; and the extent to which UNMISS addresses specific issues affecting women and girls in the terms of reference and mission reports. The Council should inquire as to women’s engagement in the implementation of the Cooperation Agreements, and support women’s representation as chairs and members of committees, and consultation with women in the areas where agreements will be implemented. The Council should also inquire as to access to information on the substance and status of the peace process, particularly for women. In its review of the UNISFA report, Council members should ask how the next mandate renewal can better reflect the concerns and rights of women, including by ensuring a gender-responsive approach to community security via the gender sensitization training of security forces, inter alia the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNIFSA), national militaries, and the police service; appointing and ensuring funding for a gender advisor to UNIFSA.
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.