The debate on the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) must identify challenges and remedies regarding national and international efforts to advance women’s integration into the political, economic, and social life of Afghanistan. While awaiting the outcome of the 2014 presidential elections, working towards completion of the security transition to national security forces and the withdrawal of international forces in 2014, and in view of parliamentary elections in 2015, all relevant actors must ensure women’s leadership and rights are not sacrificed in these transition processes. Effective measures for the protection of women human rights defenders, elected officials and voters must be taken. The Council should ensure that women’s security, ability to move freely throughout the country, and meaningful political, social, and economic participation are indicators of the transition’s success. Additionally, the Council should express ongoing concern about the significant numbers of women who remain displaced and are unable to return home, and call for implementation of the National IDP Policy in line with international standards. The Council is urged to play an active role in monitoring all actions by the Afghan government and parliament that affect women’s rights, respond forcefully and immediately to any backsliding on women’s rights, and assist the government to fully implement the 2013 CEDAW recommendations, the Afghan National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, and the 2009 Elimination of Violence Against Women Law. The Council should call for and support women’s genuine and meaningful involvement in the peace and reconciliation process, including peace jirgas and provisional councils. Gender parity must be sought in all negotiation teams; as a very minimum, a quota of 25% for women should be set, in line with the Afghan constitutional guarantee for representation of women in parliament. Finally, it is essential that the Council reiterate its strong commitment to the recruitment, training, and retention of women in the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) per SCR 2120 (2013), ensuring their safety and dignity in the workplace, as well as strengthen ANSF oversight and accountability mechanisms to protect civilians. In view of the security transition, the Council must call on the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to adequately deal with all plausible reports of civilian casualties caused by international military operations, and to provide full reparation to victims of such operations.
The Council is expected to be briefed on preparations for the deployment of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the CAR (MINUSCA), which should be operational in September 2014 and will replace the UN Mission in the CAR. The situation in CAR continues to be very serious, with civilians bearing the brunt of the conflict. Over 500,000 are currently internally displaced and human rights violations and abuses reported in the country amount to possible war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Council should insist that all possible support is given to MINUSCA to facilitate the protection of civilians, including through humanitarian assistance, and to ensure MINUSCA-troops are better prepared and trained, and human rights officers, gender experts, women protection advisers are fully deployed. Medical and psychosocial services must be made available and accessible as per SCR 2127 2013). The Council must insist on accountability for atrocities committed by all armed groups and security forces operating in the country, and reinforce efforts to ensure justice systems are re-established, with investigations and prosecutions conducted according to international standards. As the Council receives a revised version of the preliminary report of the Commission of Inquiry (COI), the specific violations targeting women should be discussed and make sure that the Commission has all the resources and technical support it needs to conclude its work.
Council discussions on counterterrorism should highlight the important contribution of women to prevent and counter terrorism and specifically address how the Council will further support the work that local, women-led civil society groups are doing to combat violent extremism. Any technical assistance called for by the Council, as noted in SCR 2129 (2013), to Member States, regional and sub-regional organizations, on countering terrorism should emphasize and promote the meaningful participation of women in these efforts. In addition, the Council should stress the need for greater recruitment of women in positions of decision-making within Member State and UN institutions involved in supporting counterterrorism efforts. Council discussions on counterterrorism should also specifically address how counterterrorism measures by UN bodies and Member States comply with international human rights, refugee, and humanitarian law, particularly regarding gender considerations, as per SCR 2122 (OP 3). Council members should ask what steps are being taken to ensure that counterterrorism measures do not hinder gender equality, and urge Member States to include human rights components in their relevant reporting.
Given the current crisis in Gaza, the Council should ensure that it considers the gender dimensions of the situation in its discussions. The Council should call for gender-sensitive humanitarian access, aid and services, and an end to indiscriminate attacks harming civilians in both Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories. The Council must call for accountability for all violations. Further, the Council should call for the meaningful inclusion of women, and ensure a focus on women’s rights as well as an inclusion of a gender perspective in all aspects of current and ongoing peace and security processes.
The Council is expected to consider a report on the UN mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) as well as the situation generally. Returning from its recent trip to South Sudan, Council members should continue to ask specific questions regarding protection of displaced women and girls, including progress toward the establishment of a complaint mechanism for PSEA in PoC sites and displaced populations, and the participation of women in all decision-making processes- from formal peace processes to camp management committees. The UN estimates that the violence has claimed at least 10,000 civilian lives and left more than 1,300,000 displaced since mid-December with fewer than 10% residing in the protection of civilian (PoC) areas.
As per SCR 2122 (2013), the Council should:
- Respond to women’s protection concerns in new and old sites by insisting on improved lighting, and improved availability of basic hygienic supplies and comprehensive reproductive health services in camps.
- Encourage the IGAD Special Envoys and key stakeholders to continue their commitment to stakeholder participation, particularly of women, in the ongoing political talks and in the formation of the transitional government of national unity;
- Encourage the IGAD Special Envoys to ensure gender sensitization training is provided for all members of the Monitoring and Verification Teams and to mandate at least 50% of the community liaisons appointed to the Monitoring and Verification Teams are women;
- Facilitate follow-up discussions with civil society organizations the Council met with during their August 2014 field mission to the region, particularly women-led organizations, who are calling for the equal and meaningful representation of women in political talks and on Monitoring and Verification Teams; and
- Encourage the international community to support women’s mobilization and participation in peace processes through financial and technical support.
As per SCR 2155 (2014), the Council should:
- Ensure UNMISS is adequately and appropriately resourced to implement its recently renewed mandate in an impartial, neutral, and gender sensitive manner;
- Ensure UNMISS devises a plan to effectively provide protection to MVTs, per the renewed mandate, that considers the safety of citizens, especially women, in reporting violations of the CoH;
- Encourage UNMISS to remain committed to the full and effective participation of women in decision-making processes at all levels from PoC management committees to the formal peacemaking process;
- Urge UNMISS to strengthen its engagement with communities in a safe and respectful manner, specifically women, and take full measures to guarantee compliance with the UN zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse including through the immediate establishment of a complaints mechanism.
Abyei / South Sudan / Sudan
The Council is expected to consider a report for the UN mission in Abyei (UNISFA) as well as a report on the status of compliance with SCR 2046 (2012). The Council must ensure effective implementation of the human rights monitoring mandate as per SCR 1990 (2011) and reinforce and expand upon the critical language in SCR 2126 (2013), which emphasizes the importance of women’s full participation in all conflict prevention, resolution and peacebuilding efforts. There should be continued follow-up regarding gender training for security forces, and the status of senior gender expertise for UNISFA. Additionally, the Council should encourage the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC) to resume its regular meetings; and urge the Government of Sudan and the Government of South Sudan to resume the implementation of the Cooperation Agreements. As per SCR 2122 (2013), the Council should call for 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.
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