For November, in which China has the presidency of the UN Security Council, the MAP provides recommendations on the situations in the Central African Republic, Israel / Palestine, and Sudan.
The situation in the Central African Republic is multi-faceted and complex; the crisis is driven by militarization and the unimpeded flow of weapons, armed violence targeting civilians, human rights violations, including multiple forms of gender-based violence, climate change, forced displacement, and food insecurity for over half of its population, resulting in not only a humanitarian crisis, but a “protection and gender crisis.” Gender-based violence, including sexual violence, has increased, exacerbated by the conflict and climate crisis, perpetrated not only by armed actors, but also by family members on a massive scale. Further, large-scale displacement continues both within the Central African Republic as well as neighboring countries; for example, since June, over 37,000 people, primarily women and children, arrived in Ouham and Ouham-Pendé prefectures fleeing violence in southeastern Chad, exacerbating their risk of exploitation and violence. Finally, the decades of conflict in the Central African Republic has destroyed its capacity to deliver healthcare, with particularly dire results for sexual and reproductive health. In the forthcoming renewal of the mandate of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), the Council must:
- Safeguard and maintain all existing women, peace and security provisions (S/RES/2659 (2022), OPs 9, 35(a)(iv), 35(b)(iii), 35(b)(iv), 35(b)(v), 35(b)(vi), 36(b)(ii), 36(d)(iv), 36(e)(i), 36(e)(ii), 43, 49), strengthen all language surrounding electoral support and particularly ensure there is strong language directing the mission to ensure women’s safe and equal participation in all aspects of elections, including as candidates, voters, and electoral workers.
- Maintain all existing language related to international humanitarian and human rights law, including the importance of all actors complying with their obligations; this language should be seen as standard and required.
- Maintain all existing language on human rights monitoring and reporting, and further strengthen by adding specific provisions calling for reporting to specifically monitor the full scope of violations of women’s human rights, beyond gender-based violence, including the impact of efforts by the government to restrict civic space.
- Add language calling on the mission to support implementation of the newly adopted National Action Plan to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence linked to Conflict as part of its existing mandate.
- Add language enabling MINUSCA to support the ability of civil society to operate freely and without restriction, reiterate the mission’s responsibility to ensure the protection of human rights defenders as part of its protection of civilians mandate, and call on the mission to specifically monitor and report on efforts to intimidate and prevent the important work of women human rights defenders, peacebuilders and activists.
- Add language directing the mission to consult with women’s civil society on a regular and ongoing basis in order to inform all aspects of operations, including any planning regarding future mandate changes and transitions.
- Ensure the strongest possible language surrounding justice and rule of law by integrating language reinforcing that a rights-based, survivor-centered, gender-responsive, and disability-sensitive approach must be prioritized, and relatedly reinforce that the mission’s support for the Truth, Justice, Reparation and Reconciliation Commission must encompass supporting holistic long-term, transformative, timely and effective reparations that are designed, implemented and monitored in partnership with survivors and victims in order to avoid replicating or exacerbating harm, minimize risk and promote recovery, rehabilitation, restitution and guarantees of non-recurrence.
The more than 2 million people living in Gaza must be protected in the face of escalating violence which places the entire population, already living in the midst of a dire humanitarian situation due to the ongoing occupation and pre-existing air, land, and sea blockade at risk. Women, including young women, who already experience gender discrimination due to existing laws placing women under guardianship of men, are less likely to have access to financial resources or employment, which can have wide-ranging impacts on households, particularly women-headed households, including food insecurity. Women-headed households are also more likely to include one or more persons with disabilities; people with disabilities are facing a dire situation in which mobility is reduced, and necessary medical devices and medicines cannot be accessed or stored due to lack of electricity. During past escalations, displaced women and women-headed households were less likely to utilize shelters due to associated risks, including gender-based violence, choosing to sleep on the street if forced to, or even stay in or near damaged homes, compounding their insecurity. Freezing of development funding for Palestinian civil society organizations by many international donors is a considerable barrier to the delivery of basic services for women and girls; local women-led organizations, which are already underfunded, are particularly affected and at risk of having to cease operating due to the inability to pay their staff and utilities. An estimated 19,000 pregnant women, nearly half the total number of pregnant women in all of Gaza, are part of the 1.1 million residents subject to the evacuation order. The destruction of health facilities and lack of access to less than half the daily amount of water required to keep pregnant and lactating women healthy, will continue to result in unacceptable medical complications. Further, the violence has not been limited to Gaza; in the West Bank, violence carried out by the Israeli army and settlers has increased, with 55 Palestinians killed over the past ten days, compared to 172 killed during the first eight months of 2023. The Security Council must:
- Demand an immediate cessation of hostilities and further demand all parties immediately stop all attacks on civilians and infrastructure and uphold international human rights and humanitarian law, and all relevant Security Council resolutions, including on women, peace and security, to end violations of human rights of all civilians, including women, girls and marginalized groups.
- Demand the immediate reversal of the evacuation order, which amounts to forcible population transfer, issued by Israel in violation of international humanitarian law.
- Demand the lifting of pre-existing blockades and restrictions imposed on 9 October 2023; these restrictions amount to collective punishment of a civilian population, a war crime, and is a violation of international law.
- Ensure safe, unhindered humanitarian access for the provision of essential and life-saving relief assistance, including food, water, fuel, medical supplies and care, and access of humanitarian personnel into Gaza.
- Demand that the rights of diverse Palestinian women and other marginalized groups, including human rights defenders, peace activists, and journalists, are protected and upheld in line with international humanitarian and human rights law, and that Palestinian women are able to fully contribute and participate in any de-escalation, ceasefire or other efforts to negotiate peace.
In response to the 15 April outbreak of armed conflict in Sudan, the Security Council must condemn the ongoing fighting, and demand an immediate cessation of hostilities and respect for international humanitarian and human rights law. Protection of civilians and the continued expansion of access for humanitarian assistance must be the highest priority. Civilians continue to be killed and injured indiscriminately as a result of the use of heavy weaponry and explosive weapons in densely populated areas, including Khartoum. In Darfur, violence targeting civilians increasingly follows a pattern of ethnically-motivated attacks, including sexual violence, which, if verified, could amount to war crimes, and, if the acts are widespread or systematic, could constitute crimes against humanity. Diverse women and girls, including activists, peacebuilders, and human rights defenders, are being targeted in the midst of widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure, forced eviction, and displacement. With the near collapse of health services, survivors have limited access to health care, and sexual and reproductive care in particular is often limited or non-existent. Women human rights defenders, peacebuilders, and women’s civil society groups, including those documenting gender-based violence carried out by armed actors, have been targeted in attempts to intimidate, including through interrogation and surveillance. Council members should ensure all discussions are informed by gender-sensitive conflict analysis of the drivers of violence against civilians, including gender-based violence. As relevant actors, including the Security Council, discuss ways forward, it is crucial that any options are centered on ensuring protection of civilians, particularly women and girls, and take into account gender-sensitive conflict analysis. Further, UNITAMS must maintain or strengthen its ability to monitor, document and report on human rights violations, particularly of women’s rights, and the situation of women human rights defenders, given the scale and scope of the violence, including sexual violence, which is ongoing, in order to ensure justice and accountability. Finally, any future option must reinforce the mission’s role in supporting the participation of diverse women in the humanitarian response, as well as crisis de-escalation and resolution efforts at the local level, including mediation and negotiation, including by supporting temporary special measures, such as quotas.