In its consideration of the report on the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Council members must call on Afghanistan to ensure that human rights, especially the rights of women and girls, are not compromised in the pursuit of other interests. According to recent UNAMA reporting, in the first half of 2015, government security forces were responsible for nearly 300 additional civilian deaths or injuries compared to the first half of 2014. This amounts to a 60% total rise in civilian casualties and includes a 23% increase in the number of women killed or injured. Additionally, Afghan women human rights defenders (WHRDs) playing a fundamental role in shaping the future of Afghanistan, face increasing insecurity across the country. In their discussion, Council members should call on Afghanistan to:
- Ensure an enabling environment for WHRDs, including by publically recognizing their important work on women’s rights, by taking concrete steps to ensure that all allegations of threats or attacks against WHRDs are fully and impartially investigated and perpetrators are held to account, and that this is monitored effectively by the Ministry of Interior. Ensure all prosecutions of perpetrators of violence against WHRDs use appropriate legislation in fair trials and without recourse to the death penalty;
- Build the capability of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and its provincial counterparts to respond effectively to WHRDs at risk throughout the country, including establishing a mechanism to monitor violence against WHRDs, providing temporary shelter, and assisting with temporary or permanent relocation;
- Minimize to the greatest extent possible any civilian casualties caused by pro-government forces;
- Ensure full implementation of the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (NAP) as a critical step in elevating women as full and equal partners in creating a stable future for the country; and
- Ensure women’s involvement in all efforts to establish peace in Afghanistan, including in peace jirgas and any negotiations with the Taliban, to ensure reconciliation does not undermine women’s progress.
In the forthcoming month, the Security Council is expected to discuss the most recent report on the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). In this context, the Council should ensure that reporting includes information on:
- The extent to which the protection of civilians mandate includes protection from sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), with the assistance of Women Protection Advisers (WPAs);
- Women’s participation in the PSC Framework, via the Women’s Platform and the way in which women are participating in broader, political processes, as well as all Demilitarization, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) and Security Sector Reform (SSR) efforts; and
- All aspects of implementation of the WPS agenda, using information provided by gender advisers (including information on attacks against women, including WHRDs; and consultations with women’s human rights organizations and displaced women in all stabilization and peace consolidation efforts) and mainstream gender throughout MONUSCO’s operations.
The Council is expected to consider the situation in Liberia, in the context of the continuing drawdown of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), the security situation, forthcoming elections and the continued risk of a new Ebola outbreak. In this respect, the Council should:
- Ensure that UNMIL’s efforts to develop the capacity of Liberian institutions are gender-sensitive, including addressing SGBV and SEA. Additionally, in order to fully implement SCR 1325 (2000), UNMIL should ensure the prioritization of women’s representation and participation at all levels in the constitution-drafting process, the electoral system, the security sector and the judiciary;
- Ensure that gender is actively mainstreamed across all reintegration, post-conflict recovery, and peacebuilding processes, including through promoting education and vocational training for women and girls associated with armed groups in reintegration efforts. Survivors must, additionally, be given full access to post-conflict relief and recovery programs;
- Reinforce the consolidation of gains for women in the transition and drawdown process and urge Member States to provide resources to support this consolidation; and
- Inquire as to ongoing UN efforts to address Ebola to ensure work is gender-sensitive, addressing the unique social and economic impacts for women.
The human rights and humanitarian situation in Libya continues to deteriorate, particularly for human rights defenders (HRDs), activists, journalists and politicians, whom have regularly been targeted as a result of their work. In this context, as it renews the mandate of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), the Council should:
- Strengthen efforts to support the work of HRDs and enhance the capacity of the legal system and security sector to ensure protective measures are developed and implemented;
- Ensure women’s full and equal participation in all political processes, national dialogue, constitution-drafting and reconstruction efforts. The government should also ensure that women’s role in DDR and SSR is promoted and capacity is built to recruit and expand female participation in the police force;
- Strengthen language supporting women’s participation in all efforts to respond to extremist violence and in the development of strategies to prevent further attacks;
- Recognize women and girls’ specific protection needs, and provide training for all security personnel to identify, respond to and protect individuals from gender-based threats and abuses;
- Urge accountability for ongoing crimes, and call on the Libyan authorities to protect all foreign nationals, regardless of immigration status, from violence, exploitation, threats and abuses, ensuring that all detainees are treated humanely, receive necessary medical treatment and are protected from torture and other violations, including SGBV; and
- Call on the Government to take legal measures to protect survivors of SGBV and prosecute perpetrators.
In its consideration of the report on the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), the Council should request information on the implementation of the WPS elements in the mandate as per SCR 2100 (OP 25), which includes gender as a key and crosscutting issue for eventual peace and stability in Mali. Further, the Council should specifically seek details on the implementation of the mandate relating to women’s participation in conflict prevention and resolution efforts, as well as protection for women’s rights and efforts to combat human rights violations. Finally, efforts to track and measure progress in Mali should include genderspecific benchmarks and analysis, and, as per SCR 1889 (OP 9), the Council should ensure that women’s empowerment is factored into funding disbursement and post-conflict reconstruction efforts.
In its regular work across all agenda items, the Security 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.