Monthly Action Points (MAP) for the Security Council: August 2019

For August, in which Poland has the presidency of the UN Security Council, the MAP provides recommendations on Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan and Syria.


The Security Council is expected to consider a report on the implementation of resolution 2404 (2018) and the political and security situation in Guinea-Bissau. The Council should urge the mission to increase consultations with women leaders, women-led civil society groups, women’s rights organizations, and women human rights defenders, as well as mainstream gender-perspectives in its support for the establishment of national reconciliation processes, and efforts to address the root causes of political, economic, and social instability (S/RES/2122 (2013), OP 2(c)). The Council should address concerns surrounding Guinea-Bissau’s judicial system and the unstable political environment, which enables corruption and impunity, particularly in cases involving sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) (CEDAW/C/GNB/CO/6). Finally, the Council should also call on the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) to address the gendered impacts of trafficking and call for engagement and involvement of women’s civil society organizations (CSOs) in anti-trafficking efforts at all levels.


In its discussion of the situation in Iraq and the most recent report on the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), the Council should consider the extent to which the mission is mainstreaming gender as a cross-cutting issue (S/RES/2479 (2019), OP 2(e)), and inquire about progress in the key areas of discussion from previous IEG meetings (S/2018/475). There should be follow-up on progress in ensuring women are fully and substantively participating in all decision-making. It is imperative that the new NAP on 1325 (2000) is developed through an inclusive, consultative process and has appropriate budgetary support for implementation and accountability. Gender is a key driver of conflict in Iraq, and with an insurgent ISIS, all donors must lend political capital to support Iraqi civil society in holding Iraqi duty bearers and power holders to account on gender justice. The Council should inquire as to progress in establishing a fair and transparent judicial process that addresses SGBV and allows for witnesses and victims to participate in transitional justice reform, as well as provide reparations and reintegration assistance for victims of SGBV. The Council should also express its support for community hearings that are designed to raise the visibility of human rights violations committed by ISIS and enable methods of ensuring accountability. The Council should urge the Government to pass the draft Family Violence Protection law, which clarifies that NGOs may provide shelter for vulnerable groups, including women fleeing SGBV. The Government should also issue a directive that allows NGOs to continue to provide such shelter while the draft law is pending before the Iraqi Parliament. Further, the Council should urge the Government to swiftly amend articles 41, 128, 377, 380, 398, 409 and 427 of the Criminal Code (CEDAW). Finally, an estimated 6.7 million people remain in need of humanitarian assistance, including approximately 1.8 million internally displaced persons (IDPs). Durable solutions for displaced Iraqis must recognize their rights and agency, and consult with them in the design and implementation of services, ensuring access to justice. The Government must de-link security clearance procedures from civil documentation, which represents an obstacle to freedom of movement that negatively impacts access to rights and services as well as international humanitarian assistance.


In the upcoming renewal of the mandate of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the Council must maintain all existing WPS provisions, and add new language that reflects its commitment to further the WPS agenda, with specific attention to women’s meaningful participation in all peace and security issues, including disarming non-state armed groups; a gender-sensitive needs assessments to effectively coordinate humanitarian assistance must also be included. The mission should ensure that any humanitarian assistance is in line with existing obligations under international humanitarian law; and that women and girls have access to the full range of livelihood, legal, psychosocial, and medical services, including sexual and reproductive services, without discrimination (S/RES/2242 (2015)CEDAW/C/LBN/CO/4-5). The full deployment of gender expertise is essential in order to meet UNIFIL’s obligations to implement the WPS agenda. Women’s meaningful participation in the process is essential for ensuring their protection. Engaging with women’s civil society organizations, including women’s groups (S/RES/2122 (2013)S/RES/2242 (2015)) is vital to UNIFIL’s relationship with local communities, which is essential to its success as a mission, as per its strategic review (S/2017/202). Finally, repercussions of the Syrian conflict in Lebanon, including the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and armed violence  (S/2018/210) and the role of men and violent masculinities, must not be overlooked or disconnected from the concerning deterioration of the rule of law (HRWAmnesty International) or from the recent spate of killings and violent acts against women, particularly in the domestic sphere. In this context, the Council should exert pressure on Member States to uphold their obligations under resolution 1701 (2006), to prevent the sale or supply of arms to entities or individuals in Lebanon beyond the control of the State.


Following the overthrow and arrest of President Omar al-Bashir, Sudan continues to be wracked by violence and attacks by security forces against protestors, the majority of whom are women, including killings, unlawful detention, torture, and SGBV (AI). Relatedly, new evidence from the country shows that “war crimes and other serious human rights violations” continue to be committed by armed forces in Darfur and now in Khartoum, including the destruction of at least 45 villages, unlawful killings, and SGBV. The Council must call for the Transitional Military Council to end its targeting of civilians exercising their right to freedom of assembly, opinion, and expression and ensure civilians are protected from violence (HRWAI). The Council should fully support and implement the African Union decision to apply international pressure for an immediate handover of power from the Transitional Military Council to the new Government. Relatedly, the Council should pressure the new Government to open the country to an international independent investigation into all attacks on peaceful protestors, such as the 3 June 2019 massacre and the recent violence carried out in Darfur, as called for by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (AI). The outcome of any investigation should include a focus on SGBV and include strong, enforceable recommendations that aim to hold perpetrators accountable and ensure assistance and reparation for survivors. Such assistance should include a full range of medical services, including psychosocial and sexual and reproductive health services; appropriate, professional and dignifying referral systems for SGBV survivors should be immediately established, as well as an accurate, legal reporting system. In any negotiation or peace process, there should be the meaningful participation of women from all regions in a transitional government, as well as in all future governmental institutions, including executive, legislative and judicial bodies. Finally, the Council should closely monitor the situation related to UNAMID, and given the ongoing insecurity, should be prepared to respond by adapting any plans for withdrawal in order to ensure the safety and security of civilians.


Thousands of civilians are trapped in Idlib due to access restrictions between the two areas of control and checkpoint closures by HTS, other factions and the Government. This includes ground assault, airstrikes, and intensified shelling of Idlib – the “demilitarized buffer zone” – and communities in Northern Hama. This has led to numerous civilian casualties and the displacement of thousands of residents. The Council should work to ensure that people are able to exercise their right to move to safety, including by seeking asylum in neighboring countries. As a priority, the Council should focus on eliminating the root causes behind displacement and advancing a political solution that includes international guarantees for security and safety. The Council must call for gender-responsive humanitarian action in the form of aid as well as prevention and response to SGBV which are life-saving interventions. With minimal health care available in most areas, it is critical that providers are equipped to offer survivor-centred, rights-based, non-discriminatory, quality health services for IDPs, refugees, and all affected communities. This means providing specialized staff trained in providing first-line support, clinical management of sexual assault and rape, mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), identification of SGBV cases, and safe referrals in a manner that guarantees the safety, confidentiality, and privacy of survivors. Civilians have been killed and injured as a result of anti-ISIS operations in eastern Syria, and over 70,000 people are now in Al-Hol camp after having endured a long and dangerous journey. The Council should ensure that unhindered aid can be provided to the camp, including meeting the need for safe spaces for the protection of women and children. The Council should also inquire about the concerning situation of detainees and the continued detentions in Syria. Council members should call for all actors to cease arbitrary detentions and forced disappearances, particularly of human rights defenders and peace activists, disclose the names, locations and fates of all arbitrarily detained persons and grant them immediate release. Gendered impacts of these detentions, one of which is the increase of female-headed households, are overlooked in current discussions. Relatedly, prisoner exchange agreements do not address the underlying structural issues and create an environment conducive to corruption and extortion of families whose members have been imprisoned. The Council should support all efforts to hold accountable the perpetrators of torture and mistreatment in Syria, including national efforts currently being undertaken in Europe and international efforts to establish a Special Tribunal for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Syria. The Council should call on all parties to ensure that women are fully represented and meaningfully participate in the constitutional committee, should it convene, and in the broader political process. The meaningful dialogue and inclusion of Syrian women human rights defenders should be prioritized in the work of the Office of the Special Envoy, as well as all other multilateral processes. As a means of ensuring accountability, reporting must include analysis and information on efforts to support women’s meaningful participation (S/RES/2139 (2014)).