Monthly Action Points (MAP) for the Security Council: July 2018

For July, in which Sweden has the presidency of the UN Security Council, the MAP provides recommendations on Burundi, Cyprus, Lebanon, Libya, and Yemen.


In the context of ongoing violence, repression, and violations of human rights, characterized by impunity, it is urgent that the Council address ways to advance high-level diplomatic efforts and support for mediation to move the dialogue process forward in Burundi. Any dialogue must be accompanied by concrete actions by the Council, African Union, and East African Community members. Due to the high volatility of the situation, it is urgent that the Council put contingency planning back at the center of its discussions to ensure the timely, unfettered, and appropriate protection of the civilian population in case of a brutal increase of violence. According to the UN Commission of Inquiry for Burundi, since April 2015, there is “reasonable ground to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed” (A/HRC/36/54). The Commission also confirmed the “persistence of extrajudicial executions, arbitrary arrests, and detentions, enforced disappearances, torture, and cruel inhuman or degrading treatment and [sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV)]” (A/HRC/36/54). Women and girls are reported to be amongst the first victims of SGBV perpetrated with extreme cruelty and often accompanied by gender-based, political or ethnic hate speech. In addition to reported continued abuses and violence, acute needs in Burundi and the region are on the rise; the number of individuals with acute humanitarian needs has tripled in one year (OCHA), and the number of Burundian refugees has increased to over 400,000 persons in addition to hundreds of thousands of people who have fled the country since 2015 including leading activists and opposition politicians. Council members should jointly call on donors to urgently increase and coordinate support to Burundian population, both in Burundi and regionally. The efforts of countries hosting Burundian refugees should be supported and commended, and moreover, the Council should strongly advocate against any coerced or forceful returns and for transparent Refugee Determination Status procedures.


The Security Council is expected to renew the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). The Council should recognize the critical role women continue to play in the Cypriot peace process by including a provision in the mandate of the mission calling for increased engagement with women’s groups, as part of broader community engagement (S/RES/2398 (2018), OP 7). Furthermore, references to the participation of civil society in the peace process must be strengthened (S/RES/2398 (2018), OP 4(d)) to include direct provisions for women’s civil society organizations (CSOs). Additionally, all relevant UN offices in Cyprus should support the inclusion of women as full participants and integrate a gender perspective throughout the peace process to ensure gender concerns are acknowledged and addressed in any eventual outcomes.


In its discussion of the report on the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), specific attention must be paid to gender analysis and women’s participation in all conflict and security-related matters. Given the current situation, it is essential that Lebanon adopt a National Action Plan on resolution 1325 (2000) with the support of all UN actors, including UNIFIL and the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL) (CEDAW/C/LBN/CO/4-5). Further, the Council must inquire as to the ways in which any humanitarian assistance adheres to existing obligations under international humanitarian law, including customary norms related to non-refoulement, and provides gender-sensitive health services, education, relief and social services. The Council should request humanitarian partners to work with women’s civil society and other governments to support refugees in Lebanon. In briefings and the report, the Council should receive information regarding consultations with diverse CSOs, including women’s groups (S/RES/2122 (2013), S/RES/2242 (2015)), as UNIFIL’s relationship with local communities is essential to its success as a mission (S/2017/202). Amidst the relentless attention to the impact of the Syrian conflict into Lebanon, repercussions of this impact that includes the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and armed violence (S/2018/210) in Lebanon, must not be overlooked or disconnected from the concerning deterioration of the rule of law (HRW, Amnesty International). 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. Further, as evidenced by past gender-blind reporting (S/2018/210, S/2018/480), there is a need for UNIFIL personnel to adopt a gender-sensitive approach in its work, including in any conflict analysis. This can be achieved through mandatory courses on gender, increasing the availability of resources on gender, encouraging women to apply for senior management roles, and most importantly, the establishment of a Gender Team that prioritizes gender issues in specific relief and recovery projects (UNDP). Finally, Government efforts to counter violent extremism should not deviate focus and resources from efforts to build sustainable peace and promote gender equality, both of which are goals of the women, peace and security agenda (S/RES/2242 (2015)).


The Security Council will be considering the most recent report on the implementation of the mandate for the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL). The report and any briefings should provide information on the implementation of WPS provisions in UNSMIL’s mandate (S/RES/2376 (2017), OP 4), as well as UNSMIL’s Action Plan for Libya. Updates should be provided regarding UNSMIL’s efforts to support the Government in ensuring women’s participation in the planning for future elections, electoral reform, democratic transition, national conferences, disarmament and arms control, conflict resolution, peacebuilding, and peace processes, as well as efforts to engage with women’s CSOs and protect women’s rights (S/RES/2323 (2016); CEDAW/C/LBY/CO/5). Further, the Council should call for information on Government efforts to curb the flow of small arms and light weapons, including by ratifying the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and enforcing national laws and regulations. Finally, the Council should address the targeted attacks and intimidation facing human rights defenders as well as media personnel, as reported in recent reports of the Secretary-General (S/2018/429, S/2018/140).


As the situation in Yemen worsens, the Council should promptly increase its attention to security efforts and provision of humanitarian assistance in the region. Three years of conflict has seen Yemen grapple with a cholera outbreak and famine; the Security Council and the Coalition’s international partners should demand an immediate cessation of the current military escalation in Hodeida as it advances to the city and port to avert a humanitarian catastrophe, and call for a countrywide ceasefire. Al Hodeida is the most important point of entry for the food and basic supplies needed for 20 million Yemenis to prevent famine and a recurrence of a cholera epidemic. Any disruption or attack on the port which results in cutting off imports means cutting off the lifeline, not just for the people of Hodeida but the country with 8.4 million people already on the verge of starvation. They must give their full backing to the newly-appointed UN Special Envoy must press for in his efforts to secure permanent access routes across the country for the delivery of critical aid and commercial goods, including food and medical supplies, across the country, and in his efforts to restart an inclusive peace process to bring the conflict to an end. Moreover, the Council should inquire about the lack of participation by women leaders and women’s CSOs in conflict resolution and conflict management processes, as well as efforts to protect women, including women human rights defenders and civil society activists, and their access to legal support and essential services. Council members should call for support of the national human rights monitoring and reporting mechanism to ensure that information and analysis is comprehensive and includes information on attacks and threats against civil society. The Council should also specifically call on all parties to the conflict to be inclusive of women, youth, and civil society representatives that reflect the diversity of Yemen’s population, including ethnic, geographical and political affiliation in discussions on reaching a sustainable peace. More broadly, all stakeholders, including the Arab coalition, must ensure women’s meaningful participation in discussion, design, and implementation of peace and security strategies, including those which aim to counter violent extremism (S/RES/2122 (2013), OP 13; S/RES/2242 (2015), OP 13; CEDAW/C/YEM/Q/7-8). Finally, all efforts to address the humanitarian situation and implement peacebuilding strategies must be gender-sensitive and responsive to women’s differentiated experiences, including as heads of households (CEDAW/C/YEM/Q/7-8). To enable this to be done effectively, building the capacity of relevant experts and groups, including peacebuilding and women’s CSOs, to undertake gender-sensitive conflict analysis and translate it into concrete actions, must be a priority. Any assistance should provide a full range of medical services, sexual and reproductive health services; legal; psychosocial; and livelihood services, and the access necessary both before, during, and after, armed conflict (S/RES/2122 (2013)CEDAW/C/YEM/Q/7-8).