Monthly Action Points (MAP) for the Security Council: December 2017

For December, in which Japan has the presidency of the UN Security Council, the MAP provides recommendations on the situations in Afghanistan, Colombia, Mali, South Sudan, and Syria.

Afghanistan

In their discussions of the report of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), the Council should ensure that gender is a cross-cutting issue across any discussion or potential action. It is imperative that gender analysis of the situation in Afghanistan informs any future changes to the role of the mission and the UN. The discussion should take into consideration the urgent need to support the meaningful participation of women in all peace, security and development processes. Despite the appointment of one woman to the High Peace Council, the appointment of more women in senior roles is needed in order to contribute to a peace process wherein women’s participation in general remains woefully inadequate (CEDAW/C/AFG/CO/1-2). Further, as peace talks continue, the international community should demonstrate its continued commitment to Afghanistan’s people by increasing efforts to support women’s voices in peace and security decision-making – both during peace talks and in prior consultations – particularly given the sustained violence against Afghan women leaders and human rights defenders. Any upcoming meetings should include the direct participation of Afghan women, particularly from civil society, to ensure the discussions reflect the concerns and needs of the whole population (S/RES/2242 (2015)).

Colombia

In regards to the report and update on the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, the Council should examine progress on the implementation of the Ethnic Chapter of the Final Agreement and all gender-based human rights protections within the Accord. Specifically, the Council should encourage the parties to ensure gender and ethno-racial perspectives are taken into account in implementation, and that there is representation of Afro-Colombian and Indigenous organizations in all peace implementation and transitional justice entities, including representation of Afro-Colombian women’s organizations in the High Level Body on Gender. The Council should encourage consultations with Afro-descendant and Indigenous authorities and organizations in the design and implementation of collective security, prevention, and protection measures, with an emphasis on enhancing their degree and scope (Final Agreement; S/RES/2242 (2015)). Additionally, the Council should call on the mission and the Government to support and assist Afro-descendant and Indigenous organizations and their respective authorities in establishing and maintaining community-based, gender-responsive self-protection and early warning response systems to address violence from armed actors in areas formerly under FARC-EP control. The Council should encourage the Commission for Monitoring, Advance, and Verification of the Final Accord (CSIVI) to continue meaningful consultation with the Special High Level Body for Ethnic Peoples, and ensure inclusion of the indicators that the Body developed in September in the final framework plan for peace implementation. Reporting and briefings should update on the mission’s efforts to address sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in transitional zones and ensure that all cases are adequately investigated, and that victims receive justice and reparations. In light of the increase in murders of human rights defenders and community leaders, including the recent assassination of Luz Jenny Montaño Arboleda in Tumaco, the Council should call on the Colombian government to conduct proper investigations without further delay, and to ensure the National Protection Unit (UPN) consults directly with affected communities, particularly Afro-Colombian and Indigenous authorities, to increase individual and collective protections for those under threat (Final Agreement; S/RES/2366 (2017)).

Mali

As the Security Council considers a report on the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), the Council must ensure that the mission is mainstreaming gender as a cross-cutting issue, as per its mandate, including by supporting government efforts to promote women’s meaningful participation and leadership at all levels, particularly in implementing the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation (S/RES/2364 (2017), OP 20(a)(ii)). With upcoming district, regional, legislative and presidential elections as well as a constitutional referendum, the report should detail capacity-building efforts for prospective female candidates and elected officials, and steps taken to ensure that the process is free, fair, and inclusive (CEDAW/C/MLI/CO/6-7). The Council should inquire as to MINUSMA’s efforts to increase women’s participation in human rights institutions and training for Malian security forces, police, gendarmerie and legal authorities on SGBV, as well as how the mission has taken into account the particular needs of women and children, particularly girls, in disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (S/RES/2364 (2017), OP 20 (a)(ii)).

South Sudan

The Security Council will be continuing to discuss the situation in South Sudan in advance of the expected mandate renewal in early 2018. SGBV continues to be a key protection concern within South Sudan. The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the Council must acknowledge and advocate for improved protection and security measures for women and girls, both within and outside of protection of civilian (PoC) sites. The Council should discuss ways to improve UNMISS’s attention and capacity to conduct investigations of SGBV-related incidents in and around PoC sites. Further, the Security Council must apply all necessary pressure to ensure that women from national and grassroots organizations are included in peace and political decision-making processes, and in the implementation and monitoring of any outcomes. To put this into perspective, currently all state governors within South Sudan are men, which is symptomatic of entrenched gender-based inequalities that limit women’s participation in decision-making processes. In previous peace negotiations, women were not adequately represented neither at the political nor civil society level. Going ahead, this should be improved upon and women should be well represented at all levels of the peace process, especially now when Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and other involved international actors push for revitalization of the peace agreement.

Syria

In its consideration of a report on the humanitarian and political situation, the Council should call for gender-sensitive conflict, peacebuilding and humanitarian aid strategies; protection of civilians, particularly women and girls; upholding international humanitarian law; and the full and meaningful inclusion of women in all stages of the peace process and governance. Council members facilitating the Astana peace process must ensure women’s full and meaningful participation in the negotiations and operation of the de-escalation zones. They must also exert pressure on warring parties not to adopt a militaristic approach to the issue of detainees and those who were forcibly disappeared, and instead handle this file as an utmost humanitarian emergency. They must adhere to the commitments they have made to implement Resolution 1325 (2000) and consecutive resolutions in a transparent, accountable and sustainable way. The Council must call on the Office of the Special Envoy for Syria to strengthen and enhance the role of the Syrian Women’s Advisory Board in the peace process, and ensure its framework for operation promotes accountability for human rights violations and effectively incorporates Syrian women’s voices in all respects of the process. The Council should further urge the Special Envoy to include Syrian gender experts in all expert meetings under the technical consultative process to ensure that a gender perspective is taken into account in discussions on constitutional and legal issues. Additionally, the Council should consider providing alternative venues of participation to include voices and aspirations of Syrian citizens, particularly women, in the process, enhancing the credibility as well as sustainability of the process. Given the current deadlock on the issue of accountability, Council members should support the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) on international crimes committed in Syria. Council members should renew the provisions in Resolution 2165 (2014) to grant UN humanitarian agencies and their implementing partners authorization to use all border crossings, ensuring unhindered delivery of humanitarian supplies to people throughout Syria, particularly in besieged and hard-to-reach areas. The Council should prioritize gender-sensitive approaches to protection of civilians in both the delivery of humanitarian assistance and the operation of de-escalation zones, to ensure that gender-specific vulnerabilities faced by civilians, particularly women and children, are not further exacerbated. In addition, Council members must maintain support to Syrian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in besieged areas to ensure uninterrupted delivery of humanitarian assistance to Syrian people in the event of a breach in the de-escalation zones agreement. Council members should further support programs that promote sustainable livelihoods for Syrian people, reduce vulnerability and enhance community resilience, particularly in besieged areas. Finally, Council members should request further information about the issue of increasing forced displacement of civilians and demographic changes in besieged areas as part of a “local agreement” between the government and local representatives, as well as measures undertaken to ensure the safe and voluntary return of refugees and IDPs.

In its consideration of a report on the humanitarian and political situation, the Council should call for gender-sensitive conflict, peacebuilding and humanitarian aid strategies; protection of civilians, particularly women and girls; upholding international humanitarian law; and the full and meaningful inclusion of women in all stages of the peace process and governance. Council members facilitating the Astana peace process must ensure women’s full and meaningful participation in the negotiations and operation of the de-escalation zones. They must also exert pressure on warring parties not to adopt a militaristic approach to the issue of detainees and those who were forcibly disappeared, and instead handle this file as an utmost humanitarian emergency. They must adhere to the commitments they have made to implement Resolution 1325 (2000) and consecutive resolutions in a transparent, accountable and sustainable way. The Council must call on the Office of the Special Envoy for Syria to strengthen and enhance the role of the Syrian Women’s Advisory Board in the peace process, and ensure its framework for operation promotes accountability for human rights violations and effectively incorporates Syrian women’s voices in all respects of the process. The Council should further urge the Special Envoy to include Syrian gender experts in all expert meetings under the technical consultative process to ensure that a gender perspective is taken into account in discussions on constitutional and legal issues. Additionally, the Council should consider providing alternative venues of participation to include voices and aspirations of Syrian citizens, particularly women, in the process, enhancing the credibility as well as sustainability of the process. Given the current deadlock on the issue of accountability, Council members should support the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) on international crimes committed in Syria.

Council members should renew the provisions in Resolution 2165 (2014) to grant UN humanitarian agencies and their implementing partners authorization to use all border crossings, ensuring unhindered delivery of humanitarian supplies to people throughout Syria, particularly in besieged and hard-to-reach areas. The Council should prioritize gender-sensitive approaches to protection of civilians in both the delivery of humanitarian assistance and the operation of de-escalation zones, to ensure that gender-specific vulnerabilities faced by civilians, particularly women and children, are not further exacerbated. In addition, Council members must maintain support to Syrian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in besieged areas to ensure uninterrupted delivery of humanitarian assistance to Syrian people in the event of a breach in the de-escalation zones agreement. Council members should further support programs that promote sustainable livelihoods for Syrian people, reduce vulnerability and enhance community resilience, particularly in besieged areas. Finally, Council members should request further information about the issue of increasing forced displacement of civilians and demographic changes in besieged areas as part of a “local agreement” between the government and local representatives, as well as measures undertaken to ensure the safe and voluntary return of refugees and IDPs.