As the Council is expected to renew the mandate of MINUSTAH, it is vital for the Council to call for women’s full and equal engagement in Haiti’s future. This is particularly important in view of increasing threats and harassment in recent months against women-led civil society organizations, in particular against those calling for justice for sexual and gender-based violence. Options for reconfiguration of MINUSTAH must detail the ways in which gender will be mainstreamed, and how women’s participation and protection will be core to the mission’s mandate.
The expected report on the UN mission in Iraq (UNAMI) should hold women’s human rights central to addressing increasing concerns regarding the current crisis. With nearly 5,000 civilians killed and according to OCHA over 650,000 persons displaced over the past six months, the report should outline measures taken to prioritize the protection of civilians and with specific considerations for women and girls. The Council should ask specific questions of briefers to elicit sex and age disaggregated data as well as a gender analysis of information supplied on situations of detention and humanitarian access, including for Syrian refugees. This should also be reflected in the report. The Council should also request, and act on, information, analysis, and recommendations addressing the challenges facing women in political processes; highlighting advances in ensuring participation of Iraqi women in national reconciliation and countering violent extremism efforts; and detailing any progress made to enhance Iraqi women’s access to justice. Further, the Council should condemn the brutal killings of several human rights defenders in Iraq, including women’s rights defenders, and call for perpetrators to be brought to justice.
The Council is expected to renew the mandate of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). The Council 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 call on Somali authorities and AMISOM to make certain that women and children are protected from sexual violence and exploitation and send an unequivocal message to perpetrators, law enforcement officials and peacekeepers that sexual violence will not be tolerated. The Council must call for the full and rapid implementation of AMISOM’s Policy on Prevention and Response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. In advance of the 2016 elections, the Council should also encourage support for programs that build the capacity of women as political candidates and voters.
The Council is expected to renew the mandate of the UN mission in Abyei (UNISFA). The Council must ensure effective implementation of the human rights monitoring mandate and full compliance of UNISFA with the United Nations zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuses in accordance with SCR 1990 (2011). The Council should reinforce and expand upon the critical language in SCR 2126 (2013), which emphasizes “the importance of the full participation of women in the implementation of the agreements and in the prevention and resolution of conflict and peacebuilding more broadly.” There should be continued follow-up regarding gender training for security forces and the status of senior gender expertise for UNISFA.
The Council is also strongly urged to call on the Government of Sudan and the Government of South Sudan to resume the implementation of the Cooperation Agreements and ensure the full representation of women in all aspects of these cross-border agreements, including as chairs and members of committees and as part of all implementation mechanisms, as per SCR 2122 (2013). In the context of displacement, the lack of food and facilities for food preparation, including domestic fuel, is burdening women and girls with additional responsibilities. The Council members should encourage all actors providing humanitarian assistance to integrate gender in response efforts.
The Council is expected to remain engaged on the situation in Syria, particularly as it discusses the expected report on resolution 2139 (2014) on humanitarian access. Rather than facilitating full implementation, parties to the conflict are in many cases preventing necessary humanitarian services from reaching critical areas in need. Coordination and consultation with Syrian civil society must be increased to devise localized plans for relief efforts to meet the unique needs of each area. The humanitarian community must also continue to appropriately meet the specific needs of refugees created by the non-camp settings, where over 85% of refugees reside. Without adequate service provision and support services, displaced women and girls, particularly those with disabilities and those separated from their families, remain at greater risk of sexual and gender-based violence and are not able to meet their basic needs. In Jordan, there are knowledgeable and effective women’s groups who could greatly assist in this work.
The civilian population in Syria continues to be subjected to a broad range of human rights violations, particularly the arbitrary arrest and detention of peaceful activists including many women and girls. The Council is strongly urged to pursue measures calling for accountability regarding the full extent of arbitrary detentions. These measures should call on all parties to the conflict to release the names of those detained and provide such individuals with a fair trial.
In addition to following up on SCR 2139 and 2165, the Council should call for the implementation of SCR 2122 (2013) to ensure women’s participation in all political efforts to resolve the conflict, including the inclusion of a Technical Expert Support Team comprised 50% of women in the next rounds of peace talks, assigning capable gender advisers to the UN Special Envoy and negotiating teams, and stronger consultation of grassroots women groups and civil society representatives to inform the content and outcome of the negotiations.
The Security Council is expected to hold an open debate to mark the 14th anniversary of the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000). The expected theme of the open debate is forcibly displaced women. Open debate statements and any outcome should address the full spectrum of the women, peace and security agenda as it relates to the impacts, challenges and agency of forcibly displaced women. It is important to ensure the full and equal participation and consultation with refugees and IDP women. Any discussion on the challenges faced by women IDPs and refugees should be linked to the necessity of advancing women’s participation in peace, political, and security processes to address the myriad issues affecting them and ensure lasting conflict mitigation and/or resolution.
In regards to women’s protection concerns, debate statements and any outcome, should acknowledge the increased risk of human rights abuses against forcibly displaced women, including sexual and gender-based violence; harassment; discrimination; as well as women’s restricted access to resources, education, and decision-making processes. Additionally, multisectoral responses should be comprehensive, with the provision of humanitarian assistance and funding including the full range of medical, legal, psychosocial and livelihood services. Further, the debate should highlight the specific needs and rights of women and girls in voluntary repatriation and return processes.
The discussion should also highlight the impact of violent extremism on the number and condition of women IDPs and refugees. Violent extremists in volatile areas throughout the world have threatened and deliberately sought to displace certain families and communities. Gender analysis of extremism and gender-sensitive responses to violent extremism, particularly in IDP settings, remains a critical gap in this area. Additionally, support for women’s leadership as well as women’s voices and perspectives have not been included effectively in efforts to combat, reduce and prevent violent extremism.
Finally, the debate should reinforce political momentum in advance of the High-Level Review in 2015, and utilize the debate space as an opportunity to make commitments, and detail next steps to overcome remaining challenges in the implementation of SCR 2122 (2013). Specifically, commitments should be made to ensure dedicated resourcing for women, peace and security. Further, efforts should seek to strengthen local civil society participation, engagement with high-level political leadership and leadership and accountability within the UN Security Council and national governments.