Analysis of the Report of the Secretary-General on Syria (December 2018)

By Anna Haven

This is the Secretary-General’s latest report on the humanitarian situation in Syria, specifically, implementation of Security Council resolutions 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014), 2191 (2014), 2258 (2015), 2332 (2016), 2393 (2017) and 2401 (2018).


The report of the Secretary-General (S/2018/1104) is a monthly update on the security situation in Syria. It comes within the framework of the implementation of Security Council resolutions 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014), 2191 (2014), 2258 (2015), 2332 (2016), 2393 (2017) and 2401 (2018) in which the Council requested the Secretary-General to report every 30 days.

The report focuses on two points in particular: residual, but often intense military operations, resulting in a large number of civilian casualties and barriers to humanitarian access. The Secretary-General reiterates his disappointment on the lack of tangible political progress, specifically concerning the constitutional committee. [1]S/2018/1104, para. 42

For the first time, the report references a consultation with the Syrian Women’s Advisory Board and the Civil Society Support Room. [2]S/2018/1104, para. 10 Aside from this reference to women, peace and security (WPS), the report continues to refer to women broadly in the discussion of the humanitarian situation and human rights violations. While the report includes some sex and age-disaggregated data, primarily in the annex, such data is not accompanied with gender analysis. The report fails to apply a gender lens and ignores the importance of considering how women are affected by the humanitarian situation and does not provide information on the impact of armed conflict on women and girls pursuant to resolution 1889 (2009). [3]S/RES/1889 (2009), OP. 5

Analysis by Issue Area

Humanitarian Situation

The Secretary-General broadly references “women and children” various times in the context of humanitarian assistance, however, the report provides no sex and age-disaggregated data, missing an opportunity pursuant to presidential statement 21 (2014). [4]PRST S/2018/1104, paras. 3, 8, 19 The consistent grouping of women and children is grounded in a gendered assumption, which assumes that women and children are homogeneous. Furthermore, the report does not include information on non-discriminate and comprehensive health services, including sexual and reproductive health, psychosocial, legal, and livelihood support, which should be delivered pursuant to resolution 2242 (2015). [5]S/RES/2242 (2015), OP. 16

Continuing a trend that began in the June report (S/2018/695), the Secretary-General provides a breakdown of the number of children and mothers that were provided with primary health-care and immunization services as well as the number of people that received multisectoral support. [6]S/2018/1104, paras. 22, 26 There is also a reference to the efforts of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to screen pregnant and lactating women for acute malnutrition. The report also broadly references the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) efforts to provide reproductive health and gender-based violence (GBV) services. Negatively, in regards to both references, no context, gender analysis, or sex-disaggregated data is included. In this regard, it is unclear if and/or how gender considerations are integrated into the work of UN agencies, including if women’s organizations or civil society organizations have been involved pursuant to resolution 2122 (2013) and presidential statement 21 (2014). [7]S/RES/2122 (2013), OP. 1, OP.2, S/PRST/2014/21, para. 10, S/2018/1104, para. 26

The Secretary-General provides a more thorough explanation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights’ (OHCHR) engagement with internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees, and other crisis-affected populations. [8]S/2018/1104, para. 27 The Secretary-General also points out the total number of UNHCR funded community centers, satellite centers, and mobile units as well as various protection-related services across 12 Syrian governorates. The report indicates that this network provided protection-related services, legal aid, and specific sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) services. [9]Ibid. Negatively, no sex and age-disaggregated data is provided, missing an opportunity pursuant to presidential statement 21. [10]S/PRST/2014/21, para. 10 On a similar note, the report contains no details or analysis as to women’s involvement or participation in either the design or implementation in any protection-related services. Further, the report does not highlight specific needs or services for survivors per resolutions 2242 (2015), 2106 (2013) and 1888 (2009). [11]S/RES/2242 (2015), OP. 16; S/RES/2106 (2013), OP. 11; S/RES/1888 (2009), OP. 13

Human Rights

The report includes two references to women in the context of human rights violations, however, sex and age-disaggregated data is only provided in one of these two references. [12]S/2018/1104, paras. 4, 13 Positively, sex and age-disaggregated data is provided in the OHCHR’s annex when describing casualties. [13]ADD

Peace Processes

The Secretary-General reports on consultation with the Syrian Women’s Advisory Board and the Civil Society Support Room. [14]S/2018/1104, para. 10 The report indicates that these groups called for strengthened participation of women in the political process, the establishment of a constitutional committee under the auspices of the United Nations by the end of the year, and credible participation of women and civil society. [15]Ibid.  In the future, the Council should continue to report on the participation of women and women’s organizations in formal processes and local initiatives pursuant to resolution 2122 (2013). [16]S/RES/2122 (2013 ), OP. 1 & Inside Syria: What Local Actors Are Doing For Peace ...continue


   [ + ]