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

For July, in which China has the presidency of the UN Security Council, the MAP provides recommendations on the situations in Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq, Sudan (Abyei), and Syria.


In their discussions of the strategic review of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), the Council should ensure that gender is a cross-cutting issue across its discussion and in any potential action. It is imperative that there is gender analysis of the situation in Afghanistan in order to inform 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. On 5 June 2017, President Ashraf Ghani appointed Abdul Karim Khalili as head of the High Peace Council; indicating the government’s continued support for the role of the High Peace Council in future peace talks and negotiations. However, the appointment of more women in senior roles in the High Peace Council is needed in order to contribute to a peace process in which women’s participation in general remains woefully inadequate. At the peace conference in Kabul on 6 June, only two Afghan women were present among 47 Afghan and foreign dignitaries. The continued near absence of women from the negotiating table underlines a worrying lack of concern and political will from the government that is necessary to build a more inclusive peace process. 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 consultation – particularly given the sustained violence against Afghan women leaders and human rights defenders. Any upcoming consultations hosted by the Council 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 (SCR 2242 (2015)).


In the discussion of the transition of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) to the newly established United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH) the Security Council should ask for an update on the progress made in transitioning all WPS-related tasks as a matter of priority. The Council should request that all reports and briefings include information on consultations with civil society, including women’s organizations regarding the implementation of the transition plan; members should follow-up if this information is not provided. In line with the mandate of MINUJUSTH to strengthen the rule of law in Haiti, the Council should encourage the Haitian Senate to amend the draft Penal Code to define rape and sexual assault around the central element of lack of consent in compliance with international law, and to step up its efforts to pass the legislation. Finally, the Council should call for the proper investigation of allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA), particularly those committed against internally displaced persons (IDPs), and report on measures taken to combat the pervasive culture of impunity and hold perpetrators accountable as a step towards prevention (SCR 2272 (2016)).


In extending the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), the Council should add a provision calling for gender to be considered a cross-cutting issue across the entire work of the mission, while preserving existing WPS language from previous resolutions adopted on UNAMI. Additionally, the Council should include provisions that mandate UNAMI to conduct regular consultations with women’s organizations, and report on specific steps taken to support women’s meaningful participation in peace and security processes (SCR 2242 (2015)). The Security Council must urge accountability for serious human rights violations against all groups by all sides, including SGBV, sexual slavery, abduction and human trafficking by ISIL and reports of beatings and unlawful detention by Government forces and allied militias during military offensives. In the face of crimes up to and including an ongoing genocide against the Yazidi (as per the Human Right Council in A/HRC/32/CRP.2) and possibly other ethnic minorities, the Council should also take immediate measures in line with the UN Genocide Convention. Additionally, the Council should add new language to recognize and condemn violence and persecution against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (A/HRC/32/CRP.2), and call for expanding the scope of current documentation and reporting efforts to record all gender-based crimes including crimes against women human rights defenders, LGBTIQ persons, men and boys, civilian women and girls with actual or perceived ties to ISIL, and persecution of individuals who do not conform to gender norms to ensure accountability for all perpetrators. In this regard, the Council should request an update on the implementation of the UN-Iraq Joint Communiqué on the prevention and response to SGBV in Iraq. The Council should urge the government to pass the draft Family Violence Protection law with proposed amendments from Iraqi women’s rights organizations, including provisions that legalize non-governmental shelters for women and other at-risk individuals. Lastly, the Council should call on the government to allocate adequate funding for the implementation of Iraq’s National Action Plan (SCR 2242 (2015), OP 2), and to establish a system for monitoring its implementation.


In the forthcoming report and briefing on the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), the Council should follow-up on its call for the rapid deployment of a Women’s Protection Adviser (WPA) (SCR 2352 (2017), OP 29). It is  important to ensure that WPAs have the capacity to fulfil all duties, thus ensuring there are separate positions focused on women’s protection and children’s protection is essential. Notably, in addition to the signicant call for a WPA, the resolution renewing the mandate of UNISFA also contained strong new language supporting women’s participation in the peace process, peacebuilding efforts, and at all levels of inter-community dialogue. Future reports and briefings should discuss the extent to which women have been engaged in peace processes, and the extent to which UNISFA has specifically supported the participation of women and women’s groups (SCR 2352 (2017), OPs 16, 17). Further, there should be more information provided regarding the implementation of SEA policies, including as a separate section on conduct and discipline (SCR 2242 (2015), OP 10).


In its consideration of a report on the humanitarian and political situation, the Council should call for gender-sensitive humanitarian aid strategies, as well as the full and meaningful inclusion of women in all stages of the peace process. Council members facilitating the Astana peace process must ensure women’s full and meaningful participation in the negotiations and operation of the de-escalation areas and security zones. Moreover, 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 and security areas, in order to ensure that vulnerabilities that women and children face are not further exacerbated. 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 Office 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. 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. Additionally, the Office’s process for collecting and disseminating information must demonstrate transparency, preserve the representative nature of information sourced, and must be carried out in cooperation with civil society organizations through engagement with local sources. In addressing the humanitarian needs of Syrian refugees and IDPs, Council members should increase efforts to support the development and implementation of creative educational approaches to better address the educational needs of refugee and displaced children, for both girls and boys. 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 any measures undertaken to ensure the safe and voluntary return of refugees and IDPs.