Concerns regarding representation at the planned Peace Jirga must be addressed: it must reflect Afghan society, particularly the representation of women and minority groups, and the inclusion of their rights and concerns on the agenda.
After a rollover in March 2010, the mandate for MINURCAT expires on 15 May. Concerns for women’s safety should be central to the forthcoming discussions, particularly as there is near impunity for sexual violence committed by Chadian and Sudanese armed opposition groups, bandits and members of the Chadian security forces. A withdrawal of the mission or a change in its mandate could gravely endanger the rights and security of women in the area. MINUCAT’s mandate and the levels of UN troops in the country must be appropriate to maintain protection activities. Specific entry points include:
- Renewing MINURCAT’s mandate and authorize its continued deployment as per the Council’s original plan in SCR 1861;
- Reflecting realistic assessments of the situation on the ground, phasing down the Mission’s operations should only be considered after key benchmarks the Secretary-General (outlined in his December 2008 report to the Council) are achieved;
- Ensuring 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.
- Ensuring monitoring and evaluation procedures address human rights violations, especially violence against women and girls inside and outside of refugee camps, including increased resources for services for survivors.
The upcoming discussion in the Security Council on renewal of the mandate for the United Nations Operation in Cote-d’Ivoire (UNOCI) should focus on women’s participation and empowerment, and on the increasing reports of sexual abuse of girls and women in both the government-controlled south and rebel-held north. Women’s organizations have not been systematically included in peace talks, in DDR programs, nor in other UN-led stabilization processes, and their concerns are not being consistently addressed by the government. Specific entry points for the Council include:
- Clearly prioritizing women’s participation as the country prepares for the pending presidential elections;
- Encouraging the human rights section of UNOCI to increase their monitoring and reporting of any rise in attacks on women, as well as efforts by the government to address same;
- Ensuring judicial reform brings domestic laws into conformity with Côte d’Ivoire’s obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law, including strengthening laws that prohibit sexual violence, domestic violence and uphold women’s right to property, and ensuring resources are available to improve services for survivors;
- Strengthening and implementing programs to address gender-based violence, particularly sexual violence.
The forthcoming mandate renewal must reaffirm MONUC’s obligation to ensure that violations of international humanitarian law, including using rape as a weapon of war, are prosecuted, and that survivors are entitled to emergency medical care. Reports indicate that the level of brutality against women and girls is increasing with survivors describing being subjected to mutilation and torture, gang rape and abduction by armed groups. MONUC’s role must prioritize concerns for women’s safety, and efforts to improve humanitarian coordination and assistance. Specific Council action should include:
- MONUC’s support to FARDC is strictly conditioned of upon compliance by FARDC units and commanders with international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law (SCR 1906, OP 22). This requirement must be fully complied with.
- The arms embargo should be strictly enforced and apply to all those suspected of committing violations of human rights or international humanitarian law. The Sanctions Committee should act promptly on the findings of the group of experts.
- Vetting and training of integrated forces, including, human rights and protection training should be mandatory.
- The mandate renewal should include an explicit obligation to support and protect human rights defenders.
- Those indicted for international crimes, including crimes of sexual violence, should be arrested.
The forthcoming report on the situation in the UN mission in Iraq, UNAMI, should accurately reflect that the situation of Iraqi women has significantly deteriorated since the 2003 US-led invasion: Women are subjected to “honor” crimes; sexual violence levels are increasing; women’s personal freedoms are increasingly curtailed; and women and girls are trafficked for prostitution inside Iraq and to neighboring countries. The report should include specific information on: programs to protect women and girls from sexual violence; women’s access to physical and mental health services; women’s access to employment opportunities; provision of legal assistance to those who have experienced sexual violence; appropriate training for police on violence against women; and provision of sufficient support for women at risk of forced prostitution.
The forthcoming UNMIN report and mandate renewal must both recognize and promote the importance of engaging women in reconstruction and peace processes. Both must reflect the crucial role women’s participation, including that of female ex-combatants, plays in the implementation of the CPA; in preventing violence against women and girls; and that women and girls must have equal participation in demobilization and rehabilitation programs. Specific entry points include:
- Improved information on the status and condition of disqualified women combatants;
- Promoting the equal participation of women in demobilization and rehabilitation programs;
- Collecting specific information on and developing programs to address impunity for crimes against women.
The forthcoming report on Somalia will likely reflect the difficulty in gathering accurate and reliable information from the country. As noted in the April MAP, the inaccessibility in the region for humanitarian workers must not be taken as an indication that women’s human rights are being respected. Any forthcoming technical assessments of the situation must include gender expertise.
In Presidential Statement PRST/2010/8, the Council indicated its intent to review and take action on the proposed indicators on SCR 1325 (as requested in OP17 of SCR 1889) on the 10th Anniversary of SCR 1325. The final indicators must be comprehensive and meaningful, and the Council must ensure an effective system of monitoring and accountability.