The Council is expected to discuss the reports of the High Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and EUFOR/NATO. Political obstacles and lack of resources continue to impede the process of investigating and prosecuting crimes under international law, including crimes of sexual violence. There has been insufficient acknowledgment of the continuing consequences of this abuse. The Security Council should call on BiH to: take concrete steps to ensure services are accessible to survivors of sexual violence; provide financial and other practical measures to NGOs which can deliver support to survivors; and ensure participation of all relevant stakeholders in the development of the State Programme for Victims of Sexual Violence in Conflict and Beyond, and state level discussions aimed at adopting the BiH Law on the Rights of Victims of Torture and Civilian Victims of War and the BiH Strategy for Transitional Justice.
In its renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Office in Burundi (BNUB), the Security Council should take additional measures to ensure effective human rights monitoring and justice for survivors of crimes, including crimes of sexual violence. Of particular importance is the role that small arms and light weapons play in fueling the ongoing violence in the region. The Council should also reinforce the importance of establishing a transitional process and a special chamber for prosecution of international crimes. To prevent more politically motivated violence and reprisals, the Council should support dialogue between the government and the opposition, with the meaningful participation of women.
Given the ongoing instability in the Central African Republic, and the lack of implementation of the Libreville Accords, the Security Council should ensure that it supports the rights and concerns of women in all discussions on the situation, particularly in efforts to strengthen mediation, early warning and conflict prevention, and in justice and security sector reform efforts regionally, and that women participate fully and equally in all of these efforts. In addition, the Council should work with regional and national actors to strengthen human rights institutions and judicial systems to ensure accountability for human rights violations. Finally, all relevant actors should implement necessary protection measures, particularly for women and girls.
The Security Council should ensure women’s full and equal participation in the ongoing Kampala peace talks that were initiated following the escalation of violence in North Kivu late last year, particularly as women’s participation in these talks has been virtually non-existent. The Council should demand the cessation of continuing human rights abuses, including sexual and gender-based violence. As the Security Council considers the Secretary General’s report on MONUSCO, which will include options for possible redeployment of mission contingents to improve their ability to implement the mission’s mandate, including to protect civilians, the Council should ensure that any additional intelligence data at MONUSCO’s disposal serves as early warning signals to inform optimal protection of civilians, including women and children, from abuses by armed groups and the national army. If any additional military force is authorized to operate in eastern DRC, it must be subjected to strict vetting procedures, and pre-deployment training should include international humanitarian and human rights law and reach best practice standards, particularly regarding sexual violence in conflict.
Given the absence of women, peace and security content in previous Council considerations of Guinea-Bissau, the expected discussion of the situation and the three-month renewal of the mandate of the UN mission in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) should reflect the ongoing challenges to and give support for women’s participation in conflict prevention, political processes, peacebuilding efforts, as well as women’s role in security sector reform. The Security Council should support greater space for women’s engagement in efforts to build trust following the coup, including through such interlocutors as the Women’s Political Platform (Plataforma Política das Mulheres), which consists of women politicians, parliamentarians and other activists. The Security Council’s discussion should also detail gender-specific concerns regarding the current humanitarian situation, and in the context of conversations surrounding the revised mandate. Any assessment mission, including that requested in advance of the expected UNIOGBIS mandate renewal in May, must include gender expertise.
In its discussion of the forthcoming Secretary-General’s report on the UN mission in Liberia (UNMIL), the Council should ensure the report provides information on progress in sensitizing and developing the capacity of Liberian institutions (including governmental branches, the army, and police) with regard to issues of gender, sexual and gender-based violence, and sexual exploitation and abuse. The report should include the following: UNMIL’s assessment of its own initiatives to sensitize and develop the capacity of its personnel, including peacekeepers and UNMIL office staff, on these issues; the current status of human rights in Liberia, including weaknesses of rule of law institutions, economic insecurity, and the continuing limited access to social services, particularly for women; and the progress of and challenges to the Liberian National Police Gender Unit, including ongoing adequate gender training, and logistical and equipment support. Council members should review the report for information on education and vocational training for women and girls associated with fighting forces in reintegration efforts; full access to post-conflict relief and recovery programs for survivors of gender-based violence; and the prioritizing of women’s participation in all post-conflict recovery programs, especially their representation in the constitution-drafting process, the electoral system, the police, and the judiciary.
In its discussion of the situation in Mali, the Council should support women’s full participation in conflict prevention and resolution, and the cessation of human rights abuses, including sexual and gender-based violence. Any UN presence in Mali must be equipped with all necessary resources, including strong gender expertise, to independently monitor the adherence of all parties to the conflict to international humanitarian and human rights law, and must submit public and regular reports to the Council on its findings. Given the ongoing French offensive in northern Mali, as well as the fast-tracking of the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA) deployment, the Security Council should clarify how the safeguards outlined in SCR 2085(2012) will be implemented, and should call for an expedited deployment of UN civilian personnel for UNOM, particularly human rights monitors and gender experts. Concerted efforts must be made to ensure comprehensive protection of civilians, in particular women. An urgent upscale is needed in specialized gender-based violence (GBV) service delivery, with humanitarian organizations leading the GBV response, and continuous support from the GBV Sub-Cluster leadership.
In the Security Council’s discussion of Protection of Civilians, the Council should review obstacles to enhancing accountability for violations of international human rights, and of humanitarian and refugee law, in particular against women and girls in conflict-affected situations. The Council should also focus on how to concretely implement existing norms related to the protection of civilians, including through the resources available in the Protection of Civilians Aide Memoire (S/PRST/2010/25), especially those pertaining to women’s participation.
The situation in Syria remains dire as the civilian population continues to be killed, tortured, and their rights violated. Men, women, and children have been subject to rape and sexual assault, with women and girl survivors at increased risk of exploitation by forced marriage. Humanitarian aid is underfunded, and current support is not adequately addressing gender specific concerns. As per the UN Guidelines for Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Settings, UN humanitarian assistance providers should ensure that survivors have information about and access to these services. The Security Council should refer parties who have violated international law in Syria to the International Criminal Court.
In its discussions of the situation in Yemen, the Council should request information on and support women’s full engagement in all efforts at national dialogue and reconciliation, and should press for an independent international investigation into serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law committed by all sides. In its regular work, the Council should ensure that all country reports and mandate renewals evaluate the level of protection and promotion of women’s human rights, as per SCRs 1325, 1820 (OP 9), 1888 (OP 11), 1889 (OP 5) and 1960 (OP 6, 13). Member States should inquire about any lack of such reporting.