Analysis of the Statement by the President of the Security Council on the Central African Region (August 2018)

By Kata Lucas

At the 8328th meeting of the Security Council, the President of the Security Council made a statement on the Central African region.

Overview

The President of the Security Council made a statement on behalf of the Council on the situation in Central Africa and the activities of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA). The Council reiterates its concern regarding the security situation and related violations and abuses of human rights in parts of Central Africa and expresses concern regarding tensions linked to disputed electoral processes, social and economic challenges, and conflicts between farmers and herders. The Council also reiterates UNOCA’s priorities and encourages further cooperation between various UN actors engaged in the region.

The Council references issues of women, peace and security (WPS) on six occasions in the statement, touching upon women’s participation and protection concerns. First, the Council broadly state’s that WPS is a priority area of UNOCA’s engagement in the region. [1]S/PRST/2018/17, para. 7 Second, the Council includes a robust reference to the importance of women’s participation in conflict prevention and mediation, peacebuilding, and post-conflict situations, citing resolution 1325 (2000) and resolution 2242 (2015). [2]S/PRST/2018, para. 9 In the same paragraph, the Council encourages UNOCA to fully take into account gender considerations as a cross-cutting issue in its activities and to continue to support the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) in its adoption and implementation of the Regional Action Plan for the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000). [3]S/PRST/2018/17, para. 9 The Council should continue to report on the implementation of gender considerations in UNOCA’s mandate in future reporting, noting the specific implementation of resolution 2242 (2015).

The Council also expresses concern regarding persistent violence perpetrated by armed groups in the region, including human rights abuses and violations involving sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in conflict. [4]S/PRST/2018/17, para. 11 This explicit reference to SGBV is reflective of provisions in resolutions 1888 (2009) and 1889 (2009). [5]S/RES/1888 (2009), OP. 1, OP. 2, S/RES/1889 (2009), OP. 3 To build on this, the Council should ensure explicit references to SGBV are in UNOCA’s mandate renewal and that future reporting includes data and analysis on acts of SGBV pursuant to resolution 2122 (2013). [6]S/RES/2122 (2013), OP. 1, OP. 2

The Council expresses concern regarding the continued use of women and girls as suicide bombers by Boko Haram, which has created an atmosphere of suspicion towards women and girls, made them targets of harassment and stigmatization in affected communities, and of arbitrary arrests by security forces. [7]S/PRST/2018/17, para. 13 This acknowledgment of some of the gendered impacts of terrorism on women and girls is notable, and pursuant to resolution 2242 (2015). [8]S/RES/2242 (2015), PP. 14, PP. 15 The Council should continue to highlight these gendered dimensions, and extend such commentary into analysis in future reporting pursuant to resolutions 2122 (2013) and 2242 (2015). [9]S/RES/2122 (2013), OP. 1, OP. 2, S/RES/2242 (2015), OP. 12

The Council also expresses concern regarding the humanitarian consequences of ongoing violence including SGBV. [10]S/PRST/2018/17, para. 20 While it is positive that the Council explicitly acknowledges SGBV in the context of the humanitarian situation, the Council should expand such language on humanitarian assistance, so to acknowledge the diverse gendered impacts of violence and insecurity on female refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPS), and the necessity of gender-sensitive planning and gender-informed humanitarian responses pursuant to resolutions 1325 (2000) and 2122 (2013). [11]S/RES/1325 (2000), OP 12, S/RES/2122 (2013), PP

The Council explicitly acknowledges the importance of women’s participation in upcoming elections in the region, including the importance of increasing the number of women appointed to senior government positions, reflective of provisions in resolution 1325 (2000), while also welcoming UNOCA’s support for governments in the region in their efforts to foster women’s participation. [12]S/PRST/2018/17, para. 16 The reference to women’s participation is reflective of provisions in resolution 2122 (2013). [13]S/RES/2122 (2013), OP. 8 However, the Council should improve its discussion of women’s participation in elections, with a call for specific attention to women’s safety prior to, and during, elections pursuant to resolution 2122 (2013). [14]S/RES/2122 (2013), OP. 8 The prioritization of women’s protection concerns in elections will assist in creating the conditions for women’s participation in elections as voters and candidates.

Missed Opportunities

The Council misses an opportunity to explicitly integrate a gender lens in its discussion of small arms light weapons (SALW), such as acknowledging the differentiated impacts on women, men, girls, boys, and those that do not identify with the gender binary, given the impact of the flow of weapons on heightened levels of violence, including higher levels of SGBV. [15]S/RES/2242 (2015), OP. 15, CEDAW General Recommendation 35, OP. 31

Future presidential statements, should include language that acknowledges the specific impact of conflict on women’s and girls’ security, mobility, education, economic activity and opportunities, and urge UNOCA and partners to mitigate the risk of women from becoming active players in the illicit transfer of small arms and light weapons pursuant to resolution 2242 (2015). [16]S/RES/2242 (2015), OP. 15 In the future, the Council should urge member states and United Nations (UN) entities, to ensure women’s full and meaningful participation in efforts to combat and eradicate the illicit transfer and misuse of small arms and light weapons pursuant to resolution 2122 (2013). [17]S/RES/2212 (2013), OP. 14 In this way, the Council would consider the importance of women’s participation, empowerment, and protection in its discussion SALW, while also acknowledging the differentiated impact of arms and explosives on women, men, girls, and boys, and those that do not identify with the gender binary.

References

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