Monthly Action Points (MAP) for the Security Council: August 2021

For August, in which India has the presidency of the UN Security Council, the MAP provides recommendations on the situations in Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.


In its forthcoming discussion, the Security Council should discuss the extent to which the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) is mainstreaming gender as a cross-cutting issue (S/RES/2576 (2021), OP 4(e)), including its work advancing survivor-centered approaches to GBV, and opportunities of the government and stakeholders to advance accountability for survivors. Momentum surrounding the adoption of the Yezidi Female Survivor Law should be maintained in order to ensure implementation and contribute towards the much needed enactment of the Law on Protection from Domestic Violence with a provision that ensures civil society engagement and legally recognizes civil society-run safe homes (UNFPA, HRW, UNFPA, OHCHR, UNICEF, UN Women, CEDAW, Madre), noting that tribal justice systems are male-dominated and there is a prevalent perception among men who commit domestic violence that they will not be punished. There is a direct link between armed violence and crime, the proliferation of weapons and GBV in Iraq, making it critical to address the widespread proliferation of small arms and light weapons in order to prevent violence (Asuda and WILPF). Further, diverse women and girls – including from the LGBTIQ+ community and minority groups – must be actively involved in the implementation of any legislation, including GBV prevention and response. The Council should call on the Government to ensure its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is gender-responsive, grounded in gender-sensitive analysis, and inclusive of diverse women’s perspectives. Briefings should include details about UNAMI’s efforts to ensure women’s inclusion and meaningful participation and leadership in all peace, security, political, and electoral processes, including the digital space, with particular emphasis on ensuring women’s safe participation in the elections to be held in October 2021. Finally, it is imperative that UNAMI report on their support for the forthcoming second National Action Plan (NAP) on Resolution 1325 (2000), including ensuring necessary financial resources for implementation and the establishment of accountability mechanisms to track and measure progress and impact.


Lebanon’s political crisis, increasingly violent demonstrations, inflation and the worst economic crisis in its modern history, increased attacks on freedom of speech, rising hate speech and xenophobia, the COVID-19 pandemic and the aftermath of the Beirut Port explosion continue to have a particularly acute impact on women, the LGBTIQ+ community, refugees and migrants. Recent research has clearly shown the gendered impacts of the current crisis are directly connected to the concerning deterioration of the rule of law, austerity, inequalities in the labor market, discriminatory legal frameworks and norms, and the rise in domestic violence – all of which undermine safety and security for local populations. In addition, the proliferation of small arms contributes to increased risk of accidents, murder, suicide, and GBV. In almost a year since the Beirut Port explosion, a domestic investigation has been delayed and failed to produce results (HRW, AI). The Council should support civil society calls and urge member States to support a UN Human Rights Council fact-finding mission (HRW, AI) to ensure accountability and justice for those affected – especially female-headed households, elderly, refugee women, women with disabilities, the LGBTIQ+ community, or migrant workers who have been particularly vulnerable to the impacts (UN Women, Oxfam, PeaceInsight) – including by urging Lebanese authorities to lift immunity of responsible officials.

In the upcoming renewal of the mandate of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the Council should take into account the recommendations from the recent meeting of the IEG on WPS (S/2021/625) and maintain all existing WPS provisions, update language to include the standard formulation of “full, equal and meaningful participation and leadership,” and add a specific reference to consistent engagement and consultation with diverse women’s civil society organizations – including in decisions related to the recovery process from the Beirut port explosion. In recognition of the barriers to women’s meaningful participation and leadership, the Council should emphasize the importance of removing all discriminatory laws and adopting a unified personal status law. In any adopted outcome, the Council should also add language which calls for humanitarian action to be carried out in line with existing obligations under international humanitarian law and for women and girls to have access to the full range of livelihood, legal, psychosocial and medical services – including sexual and reproductive health services – without discrimination (S/RES/2242 (2015), CEDAW/C/LBN/CO/4-5). Relatedly, the Council should call for UNIFIL to undertake a gender-sensitive needs assessment to more effectively support and coordinate humanitarian assistance which recognizes and partners with women’s groups at the frontline of providing critical services in communities. Finally, the request that UNIFIL provide “enhanced reporting” should be expanded to specifically request information on the barriers to women’s participation, and further be inclusive of intersectional gender-sensitive conflict analysis of the impact of the current health and economic crises on marginalized groups, including migrant workers and refugees (AI, UNSCOL, HRW, S/2020/195, S/2019/889).


Humanitarian assistance in Yemen has been undermined by ongoing and escalating violence in multiple Governorates earlier this year, extreme constraints on humanitarian access (particularly on access to services, restrictions on movement and interference with humanitarian activities), humanitarian diversion, donors’ failure to meet aid obligations, and ongoing blockages of oil, food and other vital supplies. Particularly in the north of the country, organizations deal with a range of new travel complications as of early 2021. The deteriorating security situation and a new surge of COVID-19 cases amid a fragile health system further contribute to the challenging environment. Discussions on the situation in Yemen have historically failed to reflect critical gender dimensions, despite multiple meetings of the IEG on WPS (S/2019/253, S/2021/264) and briefings by civil society (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021). The Council should consider the recommendations made by civil society briefers, the report of the Group of Eminent Experts (GEE), and the Panel of Experts, adding a list of sanctioned individuals and calling on states – including some Council members and their allies – to cease arms transfers and other support to the conflict parties, and to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law and the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The Security Council should also consider the recommendations made by civil society representative Najiba Al Naggar, including addressing the full enforcement of the Riyad Agreement and increase efforts to engage parties to the conflict around a ceasefire. In line with resolution 2532 (2020), a ceasefire should support viable conditions for protecting civilians, including women, and lead to a resumption of peace negotiations. The Security Council should call for support for women’s civil society through the provision of core, flexible and long-term funding to women’s rights organizations, and should prompt Member States to urgently discuss the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women, youth and civil society in all processes. Additionally, Council members are encouraged to adopt targeted sanctions in line with resolution 2564 (2021), specifically for violations against women, including those targeting “politically active women”, and must address the Houthis’ ban on contraceptives, efforts to prevent women from working in public spaces, and ad-hoc and arbitrary enforcement of requirements for national female humanitarian staff to travel with a mahram (a male family member). Reporting on the implementation of sanctions should include reporting on GBV. Finally, Council members should support the #NoWomenNoGovernment campaign and denounce the full exclusion of women from the new government formed in December 2020, which marks the first complete exclusion of women in two decades and is counter to the national dialogue outcomes. It is important for Council members to continue to emphasize the necessity of women’s full, equal and meaningful participation and leadership in peace and political processes, ensuring a minimum 30% quota of women in all processes as a matter of urgency. The Council must support Yemen’s National Action Plan on WPS and ensure full funding for its implementation, including by supporting diverse women’s groups, while taking into consideration recommendations brought forward by civil society to strengthen the NAP.