Analysis of the Report of the Secretary-General on South Sudan (December 2017)

By Camilla Davila

This report covers major political and security developments in South Sudan from 2 September to 17 November 2017, pursuant to Security Council resolution 2327 (2016) which extended the mandate of UNMISS until 15 December 2017.

Overview

The report of the Secretary-General (S/2017/1011) presents information on the political, security, and humanitarian developments related to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) peacekeeping mission in South Sudan. The report recounts the major events occurring within 2 September to 17 November 2017 reporting period, pursuant to Security Council resolution 2327 (2016) extending the UNMISS mandate until 15 December 2017.

UNMISS is charged with consolidating peace and security, supporting the Government of South Sudan, and strengthening in-country capacity, security, and justice sectors. The report focuses on recent political, economic, security and humanitarian developments, as well as progress towards implementation of UNMISS’ mandate in the areas of peace agreement implementation support, human rights monitoring, protection of civilians (PoC), disarmament, demobilization and reintegration , and support for humanitarian assistance. The report also contained a section reviewing restriction-of-movement barriers put in place by the Government of South Sudan, as well as violations of the status-of-forces agreement and international humanitarian law (IHL). Notably, the report reinforces the dual-role of the mission, which includes continued engagement of local, national, and international-level actors and protection efforts to ensure peacebuilding and regional cooperation.

The Report contained references to key women, peace, and security (WPS) issues in the context of UNMISS protection of civilians efforts and human rights promotion and monitoring activities. The report also provides information on the prevalence and instances of violence in South Sudan’s three historic provinces, differentiating violence by actor or target, specifically: violence caused by opposition forces (Sudan People’s Liberation Army [SPLA] and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement [SPML/A]); violence against civilians; violence against UN, non-governmental organizations (NGO), and civil society organizations (CSO) personnel; and intercommunal violence. References to reporting on women’s protection focused on protection from sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA). This information was placed within the broader context of protection of civilians, physical violence, and violence against civilians.

While most of the information provided in the report is focused on violations targeting women, some information notes efforts undertaken by UNMISS to engage with women and women’s groups in the context of protection activities. Reporting on women’s participation is framed within the context of presence at meetings and the number of women at UNMISS workshops; notably, reporting indicates the mission’s attempt to mainstream participation of women in protection efforts, particularly through the coordinated involvement of more women peacekeepers and as military and law-enforcement personnel. [1]S/2017/1011 para. 47, 52, 55-57 & A/71/841 (2017) However, the report does not include information on women’s participation related to the protection and promotion of women’s rights and the importance of their engagement in peace processes and negotiations.

Reporting on implementation efforts to strengthen and contribute to the peace process focused on international dialogue, government cooperation, and subnational meetings. Positively, the report presents the outcome of several structures and high-level initiatives mentioned in the previous report (S/2017/505), most notably progress on the establishment the Hybrid Court for South Sudan and meetings with representatives from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). This report contained five references to civil society organizations interspersed throughout the various sections; the content of the reporting reveals that those references are in regards to targeted violence towards CSOs and their research contributions to the report. Only two references directly discuss CSO engagement in peace processes, and the report does not elaborate on their role in the peace process or reiterate the positive outcomes of their presence in peace negotiations.

Despite positive additions, this report lacks enhanced reporting on WPS as is required by the mission mandate. In comparison to past reports, this report contains fewer references, gender-disaggregated data, and substantive information on both the situation and activities carried out by UNMISS. The noticeable lack of quantitative and linguistic nuance is exemplified through reporting focused on “civilians” and “children” and data that is not disaggregated by gender. Further, information on WPS is not cross-cutting, with references concentrated in specific sections within the context of UNMISS’ activities; there are no references to WPS in the portions of the report that provide an update on the situation generally, or in the Observations and Recommendations, contrary to the provisions of Security Council Resolutions 2122 (2013) (OP 2(d)) and 2242 (2015) (OPs 5 and 11).

Analysis by issue area

Human Rights & Protection of Civilians

This report includes language on a broad range of issues related to civilian protection, including issues related to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA), and human rights monitoring. The humanitarian situation in South Sudan continues due to the increasing impact of the armed conflict, worsening economic conditions, the high prevalence of disease, increasing intercommunal violence, and extreme environmental conditions, notably flooding. [2]S/2017/1011 para. 28 Approximately 4 million South Sudanese have been displaced: 1.9 million internally and 2.1 million to neighbouring countries (i.e. Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, the Sudan and Uganda). [3]Ibid

Protection of Civilians

In keeping with the mandate and previous implementation mechanisms, UNMISS continued to use a three-tiered approach to ensure the protection of civilians in South Sudan.

The first tier encompasses civilian protection through “dialogue and political engagement” accomplished through meetings between the SRSG and  local authorities and UNMISS-led workshop and information campaigns with various national and local stakeholders. [4]S/2017/1011 para. 34 On the national level, UNMISS conducted two workshops on national identity for state parliamentarians, women and youth, and religious leaders. [5]Ibid Notably, UNMISS led four training sessions on child protection for Sudanese SPLA personnel (258 officers of which 16 were women) and twenty-four training sessions organized by UNMISS personnel and civil society. [6]S/2017/1011 para. 47 On the sub-national level, UNMISS facilitated twenty-eight workshops and public awareness campaigns on topics ranging from conflict management and reconciliation, to social cohesion, promotion of the role of women, and youth in peacebuilding. [7]S/2017/1011 para. 34 The presence and prevalence of these workshops and campaigns, which is in line with expected UNMISS activities, is positive and demonstrates an effort to disseminate information on a wide range of issues. [8]A/71/841 (2017) Notwithstanding, gaps in reporting demonstrate that although women and civil society voices were present at certain meetings, no further explanation is given as to the role and extent of their participation in such meetings. Furthermore, it is essential to evaluate the impact of these workshops beyond a determination of the number and gender of participants: future reporting should go further and address how UNMISS ensures that the information imparted is implemented on both local and national levels pursuant to resolutions 2122 (2013) (OPs 1, 3, 8, 11, 15) and 2242 (2015) (OPs 1, 2, 4, 5).

The second tier focuses on the protection of civilians “under threat of physical violence,” addressed by the mission by maintaining weekly meetings with community leaders, engaging in sensitization campaigns, conducting search operations of protection of civilian (PoC) sites, and performing regular patrols within and around PoC sites. [9]S/2017/1011 paras. 35-37 As in previous reports, there is continued conflation of violence, SGBV, and CRSV. Future reports must differentiate “physical violence” by specifying that this encompasses sexual and gender-based violence, and include disaggregated data on respective targets and perpetrators, in keeping with commitments expressed in Security Council resolutions 1820 (2008) (OP 1); 1888 (2009) (OPs 1, 11); and 1960 (2010) (OP 3). Further, this lack of clarity is alarming as reporting indicates instances of assault, theft, suspected abductions, and indiscriminate violence towards protection sites. [10]S/2017/1011 para. 36 Data on the targets and outcomes of these crimes are not present in the report, a noticeable shift from the previous report which provided gender-disaggregated data on child abductions by SPLA and opposition forces in the Unity region. [11]S/2017/505 para. 41 Future reporting should include gender-sensitive data on abduction cases and investigate whether cases of abduction coincide with instances of sexual violence against women and girls who were forcefully taken by armed groups pursuant to provisions in SC resolution 2106 (2013) (OPs 6, 17) and 2122 (2013) (OPs 1, 16, 17). [12]S/RES/2106 (2013) OP. 17

The third tier addresses the establishment of a protective environment through continued engagement with national and community authorities as well as civil society through weekly meetings on protection-focused duties in protection sites, sensitization campaigns, WPS-focused country-wide meetings, and supplementary research conducted by UN agencies. [13]S/2017/1011 para. 38 Meetings convened for Global Open Day on Women, Peace, and Security throughout the country provided recommendations on “women’s participation, prevention of conflict, protection of women and girls from sexual and gender-based violence and enhancing livelihoods.” [14]S/2017/1011 para. 38 While UNMISS personnel did meet with national, local, and civil society representatives, neither the degree of active participation nor outcomes of the meetings were delineated.  It is unclear who provided these recommendations and whether women’s groups, women’s civil society organization, and other local women activists and stakeholders were engaged in the meetings and assured protection pursuant to resolutions 1889 (2009) (OPs 1, 9, 10), 1960 (2010) (OP 8), 2122 (2013) (OPs 1, 4, 6, 7(a)(b), 8, 15), and 2242 (2015) (OPs 1, 5(c), 14, 16).

Sexual and gender-based violence

Data and reporting on SGBV is concentrated in section V under the third tier of UNMISS’ protection of civilians mandate implementation. Information is focused on protection and prevention through sensitization campaigns, increased patrolling, and targeted meetings and informational workshops. Protection of civilian sites in Juba, Bentiu, Malakal and Bor utilized sensitization campaigns to remind women to adhere to the schedule of UNMISS-led firewood patrols to reduce the threat of sexual assault. As a result of intensified patrolling, UNMISS personnel enhanced security measures in and around  protection sites through intensified patrolling schedules. [15]S/2017/1011 para. 37  A direct result of such patrolling was the detention of six suspects involved in two incidents of sexual violence in UNMISS holding facilities. [16]S/2017/1011 para. 36

The report included statistics on incidents of sexual violence in the country: from August to October there were 16 reported incidents of conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) against approximately 35 females, including 14 children. Over 80% of incidents were attributed to different military opposition forces in South Sudan, eight to SPLA forces, four to pro-Taban Deng faction of the SPLM/A Opposition, and one to pro-Machar SPLM/A Opposition; three incidents were connected to unidentified and unaffiliated gunmen. [17]S/2017/1011 para. 41 Despite the data, investigations suggest that these incidents have not been prosecuted,  nor have survivors been provided with adequate legal and healthcare support. In light of this lack of institutional clarity from the Government of South Sudan, future reports should include recommendations by the Special Representative to the Secretary-General to urge transparency and judicious rule of law proceedings from all parties to strengthen the accountability framework pursuant to UNMISS mandate provisions on cooperation, rule of law, and civilian security. [18]S/RES/1996 (2011) OPs 3(a)(ii), (c)(i), (iv), 11, 14, 18

Positively, UNMISS continued to engage with national and local actors, including civil society to discuss “protection-focused tasks” at PoC sites and sensitization campaigns in non-PoC sites. The mission facilitated weekly meetings and workshops with humanitarian actors, community representatives, and local authorities to discuss civilian protection and ensure the safe return of displaced individuals from Bor, Wau, and the Melut protection site. [19]S/2017/1011 para. 38 In honor of the Global Open Day on Women, Peace and Security, UNMISS conducted country-wide meetings to discuss a set of recommendations on “women’s participation, prevention of conflict, protection of women and girls from sexual and gender-based violence and efforts to enhance livelihoods.” [20]Ibid While this reporting demonstrates the mission’s proactive effort to increase informational awareness and foster synergy with local entities, it does not communicate the substantive outcomes of these meetings. Future reporting should include information on who was present at these meetings and if women’s CSOs, women community representatives, and female political or authority figures were in attendance. Reporting should also go even further, calling for monitoring and reporting on how these meetings have been effective in protecting women against SGBV and how women from the community have been engaged in peace and protection processes in accordance with Security Council resolutions 2106 (2013) (OPs 1, 5, 6).

Sexual exploitation and abuse

Reporting on sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) was limited to section VI on UNMISS staffing and deployment. Consistent with previous reporting, UNMISS continued to implement “conduct and discipline” programmes focused on sexual exploitation and abuse. [21]S/2017/1011 para. 59 The program consisted of refresher briefings for all personnel geared towards raising awareness of the new approach, emphasizing the principles of “zero tolerance and no excuse for sexual exploitation and abuse”, enforcing “no second chance” messaging. [22]Ibid Fifteen new conduct allegations were recorded during the reporting period, bringing the total number of open allegations to 107. [23]Ibid

UNMISS continued to use risk assessments and implement community-based complaint mechanisms to give local community members a channel to report cases of sexual exploitation and abuse and other serious misconduct by United Nations personnel. [24]Ibid However, reporting contained no further elaboration of the accountability framework, mission reporting chain-of-command, or the UNMISS-appointed advocate coordination which aims to ensure SEA is being addressed and those survivors are supported with adequate health services. Further, this report did not contain information on the impact of the “victims rights advocate” within UNMISS mission leadership and the implementation progress of the “no excuses pocket card”  reported on in Report 2017/505. [25]S/2017/505 para. 54 Forthcoming reporting must include information on the implementation plan and data (monthly or bi-monthly) to evaluate whether the aforementioned UNMISS initiatives have been effective in curbing SEA and enhancing accountability for perpetrators within the mission.

Human rights monitoring and investigating

The deteriorating human rights environment in South Sudan is perpetuated by ongoing military hostilities, which increase the risk of intercommunal violence, sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), conflict-related sexual violence (CSRV), and indiscriminate killing, and targeted violence that women and girls face. The report highlighted the killing of 134 civilians, including 42 women, and 79 injuries, including to 21 women, directly connected to CRSV and intercommunal violence. [26]S/2017/1011 para. 40 Despite these instances of violence and human rights violations, the report indicated that investigations were limited by the operating environment, notably denial of access by authorities. [27]Ibid Monitoring and reporting indicates that nothing has been done to punish those individuals and groups responsible for acts of SGBV towards women and girls, and there is a lack of reporting on the legal, health, and psychological services available to survivors of SGBV and CRSV necessary pursuant to Resolutions 1888 (2009) (OPs 3, 13), 1889 (2009) (OPs 10, 11), 2106 (2013) (OPs 1, 19, 20), and 2242 (2015) (OPs 14, 16).

The report contained in-depth reporting on the condition of South Sudanese children, focusing on monitoring the prevalence of cholera and malaria, rates and degree of malnourishment, and incidents of killing and maiming. [28]S/2017/1011 paras. 30, 29, and 47 respectively The same degree of specificity and gender-disaggregated data should be given to reporting on the condition of women in South Sudan, as they face similar threats. Forthcoming reporting should be conducted with a focus on in-depth monitoring of SGBV and CRSV, specifically instances of rape in conflict, post-conflict, and other situations, which is a mandated task. [29]S/RES/1996 (2011) OP. 24 Additionally, data on intercommunal tensions should be more robust, providing disaggregated data by gender, age, and nature of violence pursuant to resolutions 1888 (2009) (OP 24), 1889 (2009) (OPs 6, 17), 1960 (2010) (OPs 3, 6, 8, 18(b)(c)), and 2122 (2013) (OPs 1,16, 17). [30]S/2017/1011 para. 27

Reporting on refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) is limited to the number and destination of migrants. The report notes that more than 1 million South Sudanese refugees are located in Uganda, the majority of them women and children. [31]Ibid Future reporting should provide data on the registration practices at protection sites and the gender distribution of IDPs and refugees: linking data on migration patterns with IDP and refugee registration data is essential for understanding not only where groups of people are migrating to but the gender breakdown of migrants and the types of services necessary for IDPs and refugees. Reporting must contain information on the resources, services, and structures in protection sites and refugee camps capable of supporting women, men, boys, and girls affected by displacement and SGBV. Further, gender-nuanced and disaggregated data reporting will provide clarity as to the reasons for mass migration of women and children to Uganda. [32]S/2017/1011 para. 28

Positively, the mandate highlights the importance of “appropriate gender expertise and training” in mission activities and calls for the appointment of a Women Protection Advisor (WPA). [33]S/RES/1996 (2011) OP. 24 This report offers information on the work executed by gender advisors at the UNMISS mission; however, the report does not mention the WPA and the work the WPA conducts both within the mission  and  local communities. Further reporting should discuss civilian women’s specific protection needs and how the WPA’s work to fulfill those needs, which is a mandated task and outlined in resolutions 1889 (2009) (OP 4); 2122 (2013)(OP 7); and 2242 (2015)(OP 7) on the role and appointment of field-based gender advisors. [34]S/RES/2327 (2016) OP. 7 (a) (i)

Humanitarian Assistance

Reporting on humanitarian assistance focuses on the delivery of medical and food assistance to over 4.7 million people in South Sudan. [35]S/2017/1011 para. 32 Research findings of the UN Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) for September 2017 to March 2018 revealed that an estimated 6 million people (56% of the population) were severely food insecure and 1.1 million children are ”acutely malnourished”. [36]S/2017/1011 para. 29 Additional research predicts that the ongoing conflict and environmental factors will exacerbate health conditions and food insecurity, thereby increasing the need for targeted, humanitarian assistance delivery. Reporting on assistance delivery focused on the physical infrastructure needed to deliver the aid, notably roads, force protection for aid groups, and air patrols.

Positively, the report indicates the total number of people who received humanitarian assistance during the reporting period: since 2017, 4.7 million South Sudanese have received assistance and protection against 6.7 million in need, with 4.6 million people receiving food and livelihood assistance, more than 2.1 million people accessing improved water sources, about 1.2 million receiving humanitarian protection services, and about 1.7 million children between 6 and 9 months receiving measle vaccinations. [37]S/2017/1011 para. 32

While the report offers differentiated data on aid delivery, there is no further sex and age-disaggregated data on who is receiving the aid; similarly to reporting on humanitarian monitoring, evidence on humanitarian aid assistance was focused primarily on children in South Sudan. Despite increased delivery of humanitarian assistance, this report lacked information on the delivery of aid and assistance to women, specifically to sexual violence and assault survivors. In light of the escalating conflict and continuing instances of SGBV, further reporting must be gender-sensitive and include information and data on the sexual, reproductive, and psychological support provided to women, girls, and boys pursuant to Resolutions 2106 (OPs 1, 19, and 20) and 2242 (OPs 14 and 16). Future reporting should also present the linkages between women and hunger – in addition to those on children and hunger – as women often have to travel long distances in order to find food to provide for their family, putting them at an elevated risk for intercommunal violence and SGBV. [38]Cite source material Amnesty and HRW

Further, the report fails to follow-up on the progress of the implementation of the twenty-three “quick-impact projects” mentioned in Report S/2017/505, aimed at increasing access to basic services and structures, such as water, renovation of public facilities, youth and women’s centers, and a safe house. [39]S/2017/505 para. 33 Information is needed to shed light on how many women use these spaces and if women were included in design and planning processes, particularly with regards to the location and operational hours. Reporting on these services and their implementation is an important indicator of civilian health and protection, and essential in carrying out the commitments outlined in Security Council resolutions 2106 (2013) (OPs 1, 5, 6, 19, and 20); 2122 (2013) (OPs 2(d), 4, 8, and 15); and 2242 (2015) (OPs 5, 11, and 14).

Conflict Resolution & Peace Process

Report 2017/1011 recounts instances of synergistic engagement of local, national, and international actors in the peace and reconciliation processes. The report echoed previous international consensus that the peace agreement is “the only viable option for the achievement of sustainable peace.” [40]S/2017/1011 para. 9 Notably, it reinforces the newly-issued communiqué on South Sudan by African Union Peace and Security Council and stating it would consider taking additional steps, including sanctions, if the Government of South Sudan continues to delay implementation. [41]Ibid

Implementation of Peace Agreement

The report concludes that implementation of the 20 June 2011 peace agreement remained minimal. [42]S/2017/1011 para. 50 Lack of progress persists despite continued work by the Transitional Government of National Unity to foster national-level reconciliation dialogue and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to facilitate peace between the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan. [43]S/2017/1011 paras. 3 and 2 respectively Reporting noted the Special Representative used his good offices to advocate for the full implementation of the peace agreement” through meetings and bilateral agreements. Additionally, the report also confirms that the members of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, established by the Human Rights Council, met with government officials and representatives of civil society and the diplomatic community in Juba and other parts of Eastern Equatoria to have an “interactive dialogue on the human rights situation in South Sudan.” [44]S/2017/1011 para. 46 However, despite active engagement and demonstrated commitment, future reporting must clarify the extent to which women were consulted or present at meetings, pursuant to mandate provisions and Security Council Resolutions 1889 (2009) (OPs 1, 9, 10, 11), 1960 (2010) (OP 8), and 2122 (2013) (OPs 6 and 7(a)(b)). [45] S/RES/1996 (2011), OP 3(a(ii)); S/RES/1889 (2009), OPs 1, 9, 10, 11; S/RES/1960 (2010), OP 8; S/RES/2122 (2013), OPs. 6 and 7(a)(b))

The report made no explicit mention of women’s participation even though ensuring women’s participation in “decision-making forums” is a mandated task. [46]S/RES/1996 (2011) OP. 3(a)(ii) Reporting on international meetings either referred to broad participation of all parties or recounted the general presence of women at the meeting without explaining their affiliation or role in the dialogue. In regards to IGAD meetings,  the report discussed consultations with “representatives from all parties to the peace agreement” including military opposition and “other stakeholder groups and the African Union Peace and Security Council“, and “stressed the importance of an all-inclusive, independent and transparent” dialogue process for meetings. It is unclear what is intended by “all-inclusive” and what processes are utilized to allow for the full, equal, and safe participation of women and women CSO at such forums. [47]S/2017/1011 para. 2 and 9 respectively Additionally, women were generally in attendance at the National Dialogue Steering Committee for discussions on peace and security, good governance and institutional reforms, yet their role in such meetings is unclear. [48]S/2017/1011 para. 5 Reporting on high-level dialogue must be transparent and include details on the stakeholder groups and representatives present, particularly with regards to women, women’s groups, and women community leaders, and civil society representatives. Further, the Council should report on measures taken to ensure the safe and equal participation of women in such spaces pursuant to WPS Resolutions 2122 (2013) (OPs 4, 8, and 15) and 2242 (2015) (OPs 1 and 16).

Political and Electoral processes

The electoral process in South Sudan remains fraught with logistical problems amid the tense political climate. During the reporting period, the National Elections Commission announced the start of the pre-election period, a direct contradiction to the evaluation of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), which concluded that “credible elections” were not feasible on account of mass internal and external displacement, severe food insecurity, and lack of institutional and constitutional infrastructures. [49]S/2017/1011 para. 7 These concerns expressed by the JMEC were also raised by local civil society organizations. [50]Ibid

The report failed to include information on women’s participation in local and national- political and electoral processes. Pursuant to SC Resolutions 1325 (2000), 2122 (2013), and 2242 (2015), women must be granted “full and equal” participation in all forms of government and political processes. Future reporting should include information on the political positions women hold in the Government, notably if there are any women serving in the National Legislative Assembly, Cabinet, or State-level governors. This information is essential as it supplements previous statistical reporting on women in government and will allow for analysis on women’s role in Government processes.

Rule of Law

The Report details widespread operational challenges in implementing judicial and accountability structures in South Sudan. The main limitations to UNMISS operations, including investigating human rights abuses, were caused by Government authorities and SPLA soldiers. [51]S/2017/1011 paras. 40 In fact, officials and military forces denied UNMISS personnel entry at checkpoints a total of twelve times during the reporting period. [52]Ibid

The report expresses concern that the conditions of detention facilities in police and penal institutions (i.e. jails and prisons) do not meet the minimum international human rights requirements. [53]S/2017/1011 paras. 42 Consistent with past reporting, most criminal defendants in-country still do not have access to legal services and representation. Further,  South Sudan enforces the death penalty, raising concern on the status of fair trials in accordance with international legal standards. [54]S/2017/1011 paras. 43 This concern is furthered as the report recounts the dismissal of 14 judges by President Salva Kiir Mayardit and the judicial strike that followed in May by the General Assembly of Justices and Judges, which ended on September 8th after the parties jointly reaching an accord. [55]S/2017/1011 paras. 43 This report does not provide sex and age-disaggregated data on individuals held in jails, prisons, and detention centers across the country or the legal, medical, and psychological services available to them. To address this lack of statistical clarity, the Security Council should urge the Government of South Sudan to do its due diligence in sharing information with UNMISS, as the establishment of a humane prison system and cooperation with international partners are mandated tasks. [56]S/RES/1996 (2011) OPs. 14 & 18

Following the previous report (S/2017/505), reporting indicates minimal progress in establishing a transitional mechanism in accordance to Chapter V of the 20 June 2011 Peace Agreement. [57]S/2017/1011 paras. 53 Preliminary legal instruments have been submitted by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to the Council of Ministers in an effort to begin the process of establishing the Hybrid Court for South Sudan. [58]Ibid However, such instruments are still pending approval from the Government. As the Hybrid Court was established to help prosecute suspected criminals, in particular SGBV offenders, it is imperative that the Security Council include language in forthcoming resolutions asserting the need for government cooperation to accelerate progress and the need for protecting survivors of SGBV pursuant to resolutions 2106 (2013) (OPs 1, 11, 19 20) and 2242 (2015) (OP 16). Further, this report did not provide information on the progress of the UNMISS “pocket card” initiative previously mentioned in Report S/2017/505. [59]S/2017/505 para. 53 This initiative is one of the hallmarks of UNMISS’ commitment to SGBV prevention and future reporting should prioritize information on their progress, or lack thereof, in accordance with Resolutions 1889 (2009) (OP 10), 1960 (2010) (OPs 1, 3, 6, 8, 13), 2106 (2013) (OPs 1 and 11), and 2122 (2013) (OPs 1, 3, 5, 6, 10, and 11).

The Secretary General’s report contained scant WPS references on women’s engagement with rule of law processes and inconsistent quantitative data to substantiate its claims, as there was one reporting inconsistency that raises questions and concerns on the collection, methodology, and subsequent validity of the data. An independent study by UNMISS and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was jointly conducted during the reporting period to evaluate the existing  capacity of South Sudan’s national justice system, specifically to ascertain its ability to “promote access to justice for conflict-related crimes against women and children.” [60]S/2017/1011 para. 38 The independent report indicates that preliminary information suggests that “adequate legal and structural frameworks exist” to support the formation of a unit tasked to investigate and prosecute such crimes. [61]Ibid This study’s conclusions stand in stark contrast to unreported and unprosecuted cases of CRSV attributed to SPLA and SPLM/A, as well as the instability of the judicial system noted in the present Secretary-General Report. [62]S/2017/1011 paras. 41 and 43 respectively These inconsistent conclusions and lack of quantitative clarity reveals a tension between reporting sources that arises due to a lack of streamlined data methodologies and a failure to integrate gender considerations in country and mission monitoring activities. Not only does future UNMISS reporting have to address and investigate the reason for the aforementioned inconsistency, but also provide tangible evidence on how women are involved in rule of law procedures. Information must capture the participation of women in elections as well as access to legal services in conflict and post-conflict settings through gender-responsive judicial and security sector reform in accordance with its mandated tasks in Resolution 1996 (2011) (3(c)(d)) and WPS commitments in resolutions 2122 (2013) (OP 10).

References

   [ + ]