In renewing the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), the Security Council must ensure that women’s participation and the realization and protection of their human rights remain a key focus of the resolution. The genuine participation of women in all areas of political, economic, and social life of Afghanistan is key for the country’s path towards inclusive and sustainable peace. With civilian casualties at an all-time high according to UNAMA, and in view of the ISAF-withdrawal, there is a sense of insecurity across the country. Women and girls continue to become victims of attacks by Taliban and other armed groups, and are subjected to human rights abuses, including gender-based and sexual violence, with perpetrators rarely held to account. The Afghan authorities, supported by UNAMA and other international partners, must ensure that hard-won gains regarding women and girls’ participation and human rights are maintained and advanced. UNAMA must continue to have strong, explicit support for senior gender expertise and advice within its mission structure. The Security Council should call on the Afghan authorities to address, with the assistance of UNAMA, the following areas as a matter of priority:
- Ensure women’s security and ability to move freely throughout the country by countering the Taliban and other armed groups, in full respect for human rights and international humanitarian law;
- Minimize to the greatest extent possible any civilian casualties caused by pro-Government forces;
- Fully implement the National IDP Policy adopted in 2014, and address the specific needs of displaced women and girls;
- Ensure women’s involvement in all efforts to establish a lasting peace in Afghanistan, including in peace jirgas and any peace negotiation process;
- Develop a comprehensive strategy to fully implement the Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) Law, and instruct all Afghan law enforcement agencies across the country to implement the EVAW law without any reservation or condition;
- Provide support to Women Human Rights Defenders, including by ensuring freedom of expression, movement and association, as well as protection measures where needed; and
- Ensure political support for the independence and effectiveness of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.
The Security Council will be renewing the mandate for MONUSCO in March 2015. In this context, the Council, building on Resolution 2147 (2014), should:
- Reiterate that MONUSCO’s protection of civilians mandate includes protection from SGBV with the assistance of WPAs;
- Strengthen women’s participation in the PSC Framework, via the women’s platform, by incorporating it into an operative paragraph as opposed to a preambular paragraph;
- Include women in the election process as candidates and voters, in addition to civil society;
- Maintain and expand its strong language condemning SGBV by all armed groups and continue to insist that all peacekeeping personnel adhere to the zero-tolerance policy;
- Ensure women’s role in DDR and SSR is promoted and capacity is built to recruit and expand female participation in the police force and address the differentiated needs of women, girls, men and boys in DDR programs;
- Request more specific reporting on WPS with the aid of gender advisors (including concrete information on targeted attacks of any nature on women, including women human rights defenders and sex-disaggregated data, and efforts to consult with women’s human rights organizations and displaced women in all stabilization and peace consolidation efforts) and mainstream gender throughout MONUSCO’s operations; and
- Commit to ending impunity for SGBV crimes and ensure that WPAs only investigate cases of conflict-related sexual violence with the consent of survivors and only after they have had access to lifesaving health care services.
The Council will be considering the report and mandate of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) this month. Given the current tenuous security situation, the threat posed by armed groups, illicit arms proliferation, and concern regarding instability within the government, the Council should address the following points in the renewal of the mandate as well as any discussions:
- Ensure women’s full and equal participation in all political processes, national dialogue, constitution-drafting, and reconstruction efforts. The government should ensure that women’s role in DDR and SSR is promoted and capacity is built to recruit and expand female participation in the police force. Women, including from ethnic and religious minorities, must also participate in all efforts to respond to extremist violence and in the development of strategies to prevent further attacks;
- Recognize women’s and girls’ particular protection needs and provide training for all security personnel to identify, respond to, and protect individuals from gender-based threats and abuses;
- Urge accountability for ongoing crimes, and call on the Libyan authorities to protect all foreign nationals, regardless of immigration status, from violence, exploitation, threats, and abuses, ensuring that all detainees are treated humanely, receive necessary medical treatment and are protected from torture and other violations, including SGBV; and
- Call on the Government to take adequate legal measures to protect survivors of SGBV and prosecute perpetrators.
In view of the Security Council’s field mission to Burundi and the Central African Republic as well as consultations with the African Union this month, we urge Council members to make the implementation of the Council’s women, peace and security mandate a focus of their visit, in line with SCR 2122 (2013). As per the same resolution, Council members are reminded of their commitment to hold interactive meetings with local women and women’s organizations during the trip. In all contexts when meeting with Mission leadership, Council members should emphasize the importance of senior level support and promotion of WPS issues. In Burundi as per presidential statement 2015/6 the Council should call for women’s full participation both as candidates and voters in the upcoming election and other transitional processes. In CAR, the Council should meet with women organizations providing humanitarian assistance and services to survivors of sexual violence as well as request briefings by MINSUCA’s gender advisors and women protection advisors (WPAs). Consultations with AU officials should emphasize the importance of integrating gender perspectives into peace and security by including gender expertise and increasing female leadership in peacekeeping efforts as per SCR 2167 (2014).
In the Council’s ongoing discussions of the situation in South Sudan and in light of the most recent signed agreement, the Council should:
- Urge the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and the Opposition to uphold the spirit and text of the peace agreement and demonstrate the political will to abide by and implement the accord;
- Encourage the IGAD Special Envoys to remain committed to the full and effective participation of stakeholders, particularly of women, in the next round of political talks and in the formation of the forthcoming comprehensive peace agreement; and
- Encourage the IGAD Special Envoys to continue to promote inclusion, commit to broad and inclusive community consultations, and provide adequate funding to effectively implement the forthcoming agreement.
As the situation in Yemen continues to worsen, the Security Council should ensure that all peace and security processes are inclusive of civil society organizations, and particularly inclusive of women. Both the process and outcome of any effort to resolve the crisis should protect and promote women’s rights, ensure women’s full participation, and integrate a gender perspective which breaks down structures of inequality in order to establish inclusive, institutions and processes that will support peace. The Council should call for investigations of violations of human rights and ensure accountability for all perpetrators. Protection of women’s rights, and support for women’s participation is particularly important in the midst of a crisis, and thus, the Council must ensure these are priorities in all efforts to resolve the situation.
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.