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

For November, in which Italy has the presidency of the UN Security Council, the MAP provides recommendations on the situations in CAR, DRC, Lebanon, Somalia, and Syria.

Central African Republic

The situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) continues to worsen, with increasing violence, insecurity, and tensions amongst armed factions. According to OCHA, there are currently 592,300 internally displaced persons (IDPs), 40% higher than six months ago and the highest since 2014. One in two Central Africans currently need humanitarian assistance, however, the humanitarian response, particularly protection and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) sectors, continue to remain largely underfunded. Furthermore, extensive reports of SGBV have been documented, not just as a byproduct of conflict, but in many cases as a tactic of war by armed groups. There have been documented cases of perpetrators targeting women and girls suspected of interacting with people on the other side of the sectarian divide. It is imperative that human rights monitoring continues and that individuals and entities that have participated in acts that violate human rights and undermine peace, stability, and security in CAR are identified and brought to justice. To date, no member of an armed group has been arrested for committing sexual slavery or rape. In its discussion of the mandate renewal for the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in CAR (MINUSCA), the Security Council should maintain existing women, peace and security provisions in the mandate (S/RES/2301 (2016), OPs 33, 34, 45), and further expand language, per the recommendation of the Secretary-General, to call on the mission to explicitly consult with civil society organizations, including women’s groups, as part of its mandate (S/2017/865, para. 66). Protection of civilians strategies should be gender-sensitive and emphasize consultations with local communities, including women’s groups, in development, implementation, and monitoring. Additionally, language should be added across the mandate explicitly noting that policies and programs should be gender-sensitive in the context of early warning efforts; transitional justice mechanisms; community violence reduction programs; and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration efforts, per the Secretary-General’s report (S/2017/865, paras. 67, 74). Despite the cross-cutting mandate to mainstream gender, there remains ambiguity and thus clear instruction should be provided by the Security Council in the mandate; the lack of implementation of gender across all mandate components is evident based on analysis of past reports of the Secretary-General (S/2017/94, S/2017/473, S/2016/824). Finally, continued emphasis on the importance of implementation of the zero-tolerance policy on SEA (S/RES/2272 (2016), S/RES/2378 (2017)) should be maintained, including by calling on proper vetting before deployment and ensuring perpetrators are held accountable. Finally, in order to strengthen information and analysis on the gender dimensions of the situation, the Council should invite women civil society representatives to brief the Council (S/RES/2122 (2013), OP 1(a)(c)).

Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Security Council should ensure that the discussion regarding the report of the political agreement in DRC improves upon the previous report (S/2017/712), which included minimal references to women’s participation and no gender analysis of the dynamics of the situation. There should be regular, substantive consultations with civil society, including particularly women’s groups as part of good offices efforts; these consultations should be reported on in any briefings to the Council. Further, in both the report and briefings, there should be acknowledgement and analysis of the significant barriers to women’s representation and participation in political and security processes that remain, including but not limited to lack of political will, inadequate financing, and inconsistent implementation of gendered analysis of conflict and peacebuilding efforts as well as relevant gender equality policy frameworks. The restrictions to democratic space throughout the country and ongoing targeting of civil society activists (S/2017/565) should be of considerable concern to the Council. Efforts to ensure women politicians, candidates, activists, and human rights defenders are protected should be prioritized in the context of implementation of the political agreement, the national action plan (NAP) on Resolution 1325 (2000), and any national strategies aimed at combatting SGBV (CEDAW/C/COD/CO/6-7). It is imperative that human rights violations continue to be monitored closely through consultation with civil society, including women community leaders and human rights defenders and that perpetrators are identified, arrested, and prosecuted.

Lebanon

In its discussion of the report on the United Nations 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 NAP 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 is in line with existing obligations under international humanitarian law. The Council should receive information regarding consultations with diverse civil society organizations, 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 on the spillover of the Syrian conflict into Lebanon, grave repercussions of the proliferation of arms and gun violence in Lebanon must not be overlooked or disconnected from the alarming deterioration of the rule of law. 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. Similarly, efforts to counter violent extremism should not deviate focus and resources from efforts to build sustainable peace and promote gender equality, both goals of the women, peace and security agenda (S/RES/2242 (2015)).

Somalia

As the Council discusses a report on the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), the Council should discuss the promotion of women’s full participation in all efforts to maintain peace and security in Somalia and inquire about efforts to promote increased representation of women at all decision-making levels in Somali institutions. Reporting should address gender as a cross-cutting issue and provide detailed analysis of the gender dynamics of the situation (S/RES/2242 (2015), OP 4), and further details regarding regular consultations with women’s civil society organizations (S/RES/2122 (2013), OP 7(a)). In the context a new government in Somalia, the Council should continue to stress the importance of embedding human rights norms, including women’s rights, throughout all institutions and policymaking processes. The Council should call upon all relevant stakeholders to take concrete action that protects women from risks of intimidation, harassment and false accusations that are used as a means to discredit their reputation. In light with recent events, the report should also provide information and analysis on the differential impact of terrorism and violent extremism on the lives of women and girls, which continues to be a significant concern, as well as steps UN entities have taken to ensure the participation and leadership of women and women’s organizations in countering terrorism and violent extremism (S/RES/2242 (2015), OP 13). Thorough gender analysis must be employed to ensure that these strategies do not put women at heightened risk, undermine or deviate focus and resources from ongoing peacebuilding efforts of local women’s groups by supporting peacebuilding work in its own right and ensure these strategies are informed by gender sensitive conflict and risk analyses that consider the risks that women and women’s rights groups face if they are expected to become either informants or counter the recruitment of male family members.

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, including 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 areas and security zones. 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. 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.   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 gender-specific vulnerabilities faced by civilians, particularly women and children, are not further exacerbated. Council members should increase efforts to support the development and implementation of creative and gender sensitive educational approaches to better address the educational needs of refugee and displaced children, for both girls and boys, and the gender specific barriers they face in accessing education. 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, including 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 areas and security zones. 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. 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.

 

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 gender-specific vulnerabilities faced by civilians, particularly women and children, are not further exacerbated. Council members should increase efforts to support the development and implementation of creative and gender sensitive educational approaches to better address the educational needs of refugee and displaced children, for both girls and boys, and the gender specific barriers they face in accessing education. 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.