The Security Council should take action to ensure justice for survivors of sexual violence, in accordance with the resolutions on women, peace and security, and the UN’s Basic Principles on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law.
In any counter-terrorism efforts, the Security Council should ensure that the Counter-Terrorism Committee, the Executive Directorate and the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force take explicit account in their work of the impact of the protection and promotion of women’s human rights.
Despite the inclusion of protection in the MONUC mandate, the situation for women in the DRC remains dire. The Security Council should:
- Request the Security Council working group on children and armed conflict refer violations involving sexual violence against children in DRC to the sanctions committee for DRC;
- Strengthen the UN arms embargo and adopt other targeted measures against parties to armed conflict that fail to address acts of sexual violence against women or children committed by their members; and exclude individual commanders responsible for sexual violence from governance structures;
- Support the establishment of a special chamber with DRC and international judges and prosecutors within the DRC justice system to investigate serious violations of international humanitarian law, including sexual violence, and investigate and prosecute senior officials who are responsible for these violations.
- Establish an independent vetting mechanism to exclude suspected perpetrators of violence against women from the army, police and intelligence services, starting with the senior officer corps, pending judicial investigation (1888 OP3)
The response to recent violence in Guinea, including targeted attacks on women, continues to develop rapidly. The Security Council, AU, ECOWAS and the Guinean authorities support an international Commission of Inquiry. It is vital that the COI should include expertise on violence against women, including sexual violence; and that any investigation and subsequent measures pay special attention to the gendered dimension of these acts of violence. All countries should cease military and police weapons transfers that could be used to commit crimes against women, and there must be no amnesty for crimes under international law, including sexual violence. Women should be substantially represented in power-sharing talks, which must also include women’s rights and interests.
After the 10th anniversary of the initial PoC SCR 1265 in September 2009, the Council is expected to hold an Open Debate on PoC in mid-November. Specific entry points for the Council on women, peace and security include:
- Systematically employing the Aide-Memoire on the protection of civilians into the work of the Council (PRST 2009/1). The Aide-Memoire highlights objectives for Council action specifically to protect women, and ensure their participation in the prevention and resolution of armed conflict.
- Where women and girls are reported to be at risk of widespread or systematic violence in countries not regularly on the Council’s agenda, the Council should follow the situation closely, request relevant briefings and consider appropriate measures to protect.
- When establishing and renewing state-specific sanctions regimes, the Council should consider measures against parties to armed conflict who commit rape and other forms of sexual violence against women and girls (1820 OP5)
- Meeting with women and women’s organizations during field visits to help ensure that protection strategies are effective (1888 OP 14).
The Secretary General’s report on a potential mission to Somalia will likely be discussed in the Council in November. Despite the absence of specific gender expertise in the Technical Assessment Mission earlier this year, the mandate for such a mission must thoroughly address all aspects of women’s rights in conflict, and should:
- Take immediate steps to protect civilians, particularly women, such as disarmament and small arms embargo enforcement
- Provide necessary measures to ensure the rights of women and women’s rights defenders
- Provide well-resourced and politically-supported gender advice in the mission, to meet the needs of women in Somalia, and to engage with civil society members in the country, including supporting women’s inclusion in all levels of decision making
- Ensure that all peacekeeping troops deployed to the region are trained regarding specific mandates on women, peace and security, and on protection.
The Security Council and Member States should follow up on the recent recommendations in resolutions 1888 and 1889, including the appointment of an SRSG and the deployment of a team of experts regarding sexual violence in conflict; the Secretary-General’s upcoming proposals to strengthen the UN response to sexual violence in conflict (1888 OP26); and the Secretary-General’s forthcoming set of universal indicators to track implementation of 1325 (1889 OP17).