In advance of the expected June mandate renewal of the UN mission in the DRC, MONUSCO, the Council is expected to receive the Secretary-General’s most recent report on MONUSCO. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, one million people are currently displaced in North and South Kivu as a result of ongoing insecurity and the resumption of FARDC operations against the FDLR. Given the MONUSCO mandate to protect civilians, the Council should inquire into reporting on the impact of recent violence in the east of the country on the civilian population, particularly regarding displaced populations in South Kivu, with a specific inquiry into the status of women in these populations and their protection concerns. In its additional discussions regarding the situation created in North Kivu due to attacks by former elements of the CNDP under the alleged leadership of Bosco Ntaganda, the Security Council should strongly support the DRC government, including through assistance by MONUSCO, in arresting and surrendering him for trial before the ICC. The Council should also make sure that a comprehensive national security sector reform strategy is developed and implemented, ensuring that any integration of former armed group members into the FARDC is complemented with a proper and comprehensive screening and vetting mechanism.
The Council is expected to discuss the regular report of the UN mission in Libya, UNSMIL. As Libya prepares for elections in June, with the mandated support of UNSMIL, there is continued tension and occasional armed violence in the country. Given concerns regarding support for women’s participation – both as candidates and voters – in the expected elections, the Security Council should ensure the UNSMIL report details specific concerns regarding women’s participation, and provides recommendations for removing the remaining barriers to this participation.
The situation in Mali continues to be unstable and insecure in both the north and south of the country. Reports continue of rape and abduction, particularly of women and girls, by armed groups in the north. Political instability and violence continues in the capital. In its discussions regarding the situation in Mali, the Security Council should ensure it supports the full engagement of women in ongoing efforts for peaceful resolution in both areas of the country, and should ensure it enquires into and takes action on the specific rights and protection concerns of women. The Council should urge all parties to the conflict in the north of the country to immediately issue orders prohibiting mistreatment of persons in custody and prohibiting rape, pillage, and other violations of international humanitarian law, and should support monitoring and investigation of all human rights abuses.
Council members are expected to visit the West African countries of Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. On this mission, the Council members should meet with women’s rights advocates and civil society to discuss the concerns and solutions these groups have regarding the future of their countries; ensure they bring these messages to the attention of government and UN leaders in other meetings on the mission; and ensure the final mission report details the women, peace and security elements of the current situation in these countries, including in recommendations for future Council action.
The Council is expected discuss the forthcoming report from the African Union mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Armed violence in southern Somalia still poses a grave threat to civilians and returning refugees from Kenya. Since the transition from al-Shabaab in early 2012, security has become worse in Beletweyne and Baidoa due to abusive security operations by allied forces and, in the case of Beletweyne, rising tensions between militias vying for control. In its discussions regarding the situation in Somalia, the Security Council should reiterate the imperative for all armed actors to protect civilians, including women and girls, in full compliance with international humanitarian law; publicly denounce refoulement whenever it is found to have occurred; and, in its review of the forthcoming report, inquire into information and analysis regarding women’s full participation in all efforts to find a political solution to the ongoing armed violence in Somalia.
Abyei / South Sudan / Sudan
The Council is expected to discuss the forthcoming report and mandate regarding the UN mission on the Interim Security force for Abyei (UNISFA). As tensions and conflict have escalated between Sudan and South Sudan, the humanitarian crisis has worsened, including a surge in refugees. Civilians in Blue Nile continue to endure Sudan’s indiscriminate bombing and other abuses, even as new conflict between Sudan and South Sudan threatens to engulf the wider border area. Since the United Nations mandate for a peacekeeping operation in the region expired in July 2011, there have been no UN monitors on the ground to document the initial impact of the fighting on civilians in Blue Nile, where conflict spread in September. Sudan has refused to sign an agreement with SPLM-North granting access for humanitarian aid for Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, as proposed by the United Nations, African Union, and League of Arab states. The Council should insist that all parties end attacks on civilian areas, and immediately allow aid into the state. The Security Council should urge the Sudanese Government to allow a full and impartial investigation by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) into events in both Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile.
The Council is expected to discuss the situation in Syria, since the establishment of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS), which is scheduled to report to the Council every 15 days. In its discussions regarding the situation in Syria, the Security Council should: ensure that UNSMIS includes a properly staffed and equipped human rights component able to safely and independently interview victims of human rights abuses while protecting them from retaliation; refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court; following a fair and transparent process, adopt targeted sanctions on officials shown to be implicated in human rights abuses; require states to suspend all military sales and assistance, including technical training and services, to the Syrian government, given the real risk that the weapons and technology will be used in the commission of serious human rights violations; demand that Syria cooperate fully with the UN Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry and with UNSMIS; and demand access for humanitarian missions, foreign journalists, and independent human rights organizations.
The Yemeni Government has yet to complete investigations into the abuses committed by government forces, including their role in attacks on peaceful protests that killed at least 270 demonstrators and bystanders, the excessive use of force to police demonstrations, and indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas, and to hold those responsible to account. In its expected discussions regarding the situation in Yemen, the Security Council should:
- Press for the prosecution of members of the security forces responsible for serious violations of international human rights or humanitarian law, and oppose immunity for all Yemeni officials who may have been responsible for serious violations of international human rights or humanitarian law;
- Impose an asset freeze and travel ban on President Saleh and others implicated in serious rights violations;
- Urge all relevant parties to suspend all military sales and assistance to Yemen, until violations cease, perpetrators are fully held to account, and victims compensated;
- Press Yemen to support an independent international investigation into serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law committed by all sides since February 2011; and
- Urge the Yemeni Government to allow OHCHR to monitor and report on human rights violations in Yemen.
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.