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 in 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 & 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. The Council should specifically call on President Karzai to refuse to sign the draft Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) into law as it stands, and to reject any amendments that would limit the ability to ensure justice for violence against women;
- 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;
- Ensure the UNAMA mandate gives strong, explicit 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 and any peace negotiation process, is tied to concrete support and implementation.
As the Council prepares to review the report on options for the UN’s engagement in the Central African Republic (CAR), the situation continues to worsen, with civilians bearing the brunt of the conflict, and with human rights violations in the country amounting to possible war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Council should support the deployment of gender advisors, women protection advisers, and child protection advisers to focus on violations and abuses committed against women and children, including all forms of sexual violence in armed conflict, as stated in SCR 2121 (2013), ensuring that medical and psychosocial services are available and accessible as per SCR 2127 (2013). 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.
The Security Council is expected to consider a report on the Peace Security and Cooperation Framework (PSC) and a report and mandate renewal for MONUSCO. The Council should follow up on its November PRST 2013/17,which calls for “…the equal and full inclusion of women at all stages of conflict resolution, reconstruction and the promotion of peace including through taking account of the call of the 11 July 2013 Bujumbura Declaration for ensuring that benchmarks, indicators and follow-up measures of the plan of implementation for the PSC Framework are gender-sensitive.” The Council should also inquire into specific information on: targeted attacks of any nature on women, including women human rights defenders; the impact of the humanitarian situation on women and girls; and consultation with women’s human rights organizations in all stabilization and peace consolidation efforts. When considering the mandate renewal of MONUSCO, the Council must support women’s participation and empowerment throughout core elements of the mission and in all political, peace and security processes, language absent from the previous mandate, SCR 2098 (2013). While MONUSCO is working to transfer a number of tasks to the country team, including key functions regarding women’s political participation and human rights, it is essential that there is explicit support for the broad range of women, peace and security concerns in the core functions of the MONUSCO mandate, e.g. ongoing support for the PSC Framework; security sector reform; DDR and DDRRR; Stabilization and Reconstruction plan for Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (STAREC); and the International Security and Stabilization Support Strategy (ISSSS). This should include explicit support in the mandate for senior gender advisers. The Council should support women’s access to basic health and psychosocial services, in addition to continuing its strong support for women’s protection concerns, particularly protection against sexual and gender-based violence, in the mandate renewal.
In its expected mandate renewal of the UN mission in Libya (UNSMIL), the Security Council should stress the importance of women’s full and equal participation in the political process, national dialogue, constitution-drafting and reconstruction efforts in Libya. With the tenuous security situation and the threat posed by armed groups and illicit arms proliferation, the Council should also recognize women’s and girls’ particular protection needs, as well as their role in DDR and SSR processes. The Council should urge accountability for serious and ongoing crimes, and call on the Libyan authorities to protect all foreign nationals, regardless of immigration status, from violence, exploitation, threats and abuse; and ensure that all detainees are treated humanely, receive necessary medical treatment and are protected from torture and other ill-treatment, including sexual and gender-based violence. The Council should encourage the Government to assist in building the capacity of female candidates for political office and train security officers to identify, respond to, and protect individuals from gender-based threats and abuses.
The Council is expected to receive its final briefing on the UN mission in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL), as the mission draws down to a UN country team (UNCT). At this time of transition, the Council should encourage Sierra Leone and UN entities to continue efforts to support the full and equal participation of women in political, economic and social spheres. It is vital in this regard that women continue to receive political and financial resources to ensure their meaningful engagement in Sierra Leone’s future, particularly regarding support for women-led civil society organizations. As it did in OP 11, SCR 2005 (2011), the Council should send a strong message that the gains for women must be consolidated in the transition to the UNCT, and that Member States must support this consolidation, including financially.
The expected report on the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) should promote women’s full participation in: the constitutional review process, dialogues with Somali regional actors on the federal system, the implementation of the Somali Compact, and all efforts to find a political solution to the ongoing armed violence, and detail the specific steps the UN will take to support such activities. The Council should also ensure the report covers progress made in implementing SCR 2102 (2013), including OPs 2(d) and 2(e) mandating UNSOM to help prevent, monitor, investigate, and report on abuses and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. The Council must call on Somali authorities, AMISOM, and UNSOM to ensure women and children are protected from sexual violence and exploitation, including sexual exploitation and abuse, as specified in SCR 2102 OP 11.
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.