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

For October, in which France has the presidency of the UN Security Council, the MAP provides recommendations on the situations in Burundi, CAR, Iraq, Myanmar, and the thematic agenda item of Women, Peace and Security.

Burundi

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]” (A/HRC/36/54). Women are reported to be amongst the first victims of SGBV perpetrated with extreme cruelty, such as rapes or sexual mutilations 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, and the number of Burundian refugees has increased to over 400,000 persons. In its discussion of the situation, it is urgent that the Council increase high-level diplomatic efforts and support for mediation to urge the dialogue process forward. The next round of dialogue should be set up before December 2017 and must be accompanied by concrete actions by the Council, the African Union, and East African Community members to push for an immediate end to violence, human rights violations, and impunity. 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 a timely, unfettered, and appropriate protection of the civilian population in case of a brutal increase of violence. Council members should jointly call donors to urgently increase and coordinate support to Burundian population, both in Burundi and regionally. The important efforts and commitments of countries hosting Burundian refugees should be supported and commended. The Council should also strongly advocate against any coerced or forceful returns and for transparent Refugee Determination Status procedures.

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 the beginning of the conflict in 2014. One in two Central Africans currently need humanitarian assistance. 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 individuals and entities participating in acts that undermine peace, stability, and security in CAR are identified and brought to justice. In its consideration of the report on the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in CAR (MINUSCA), and in its discussion of the situation in the Informal Expert Group on WPS, the Security Council should ensure there is detail regarding the mission’s support for women’s full participation in reconciliation efforts and collaboration with civil society, including women’s groups. Additionally, the Council should request information on implementation of the code of conduct on SEA (SCRs 2272 (2016) and 2378 (2017)). Before deployment and training, peacekeepers must be vetted in accordance with the UN’s zero-tolerance policy, and perpetrators of SEA must be brought to justice. Troop Contributing Countries should ensure permanent and reasonable rotation of field contingents with attention to gender-balance within battalions, and develop on-site disciplinary sanctions to soldiers violating the code of conduct.

Iraq

In its discussions on the situation in Iraq, the Security Council must urge accountability for serious human rights violations against all groups by all sides, including sexual slavery, abduction and human trafficking and other forms of SGBV by ISIL and reports of beatings and unlawful detention by Government forces and allied militias during military offensives. Further, the Council should ensure the newly established investigative team adopted under SCR 2379 (2017) is inclusive and composed of impartial and independent experts who have extensive expertise in collecting, consolidating, preserving and analyzing evidence and give due consideration to appointing women and experts in the areas of SGBV. In the face of crimes up to and including the ongoing genocide against the Yazidi people (A/HRC/32/CRP.2) and possibly other ethnic minorities, the Council should also take immediate measures in line with the UN Genocide Convention and call for the expansion of current documentation and reporting requirements to include all gender-based crimes including crimes against WHRDs, LGBTQI persons, men and boys, and their persecution for defying ISIL ascribed gender roles. In this regard, in any briefings and discussion, the Council should request an update on the implementation of the UN-Iraq Joint Communiqué on the prevention and response to SGBV. 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 clarify non-governmental organizations (NGOs) may provide shelters for women fleeing SGBV. Furthermore, the Council should call on the Government to immediately issue a directive to clarify that NGOs may provide such shelters while the draft law remains pending before the Iraqi Parliament.

Myanmar

Since attacks on police outposts by a group calling itself ARSA (Arakhan Rohingya Salvation Army) on 25 August 2017 and subsequent clearance operations by Myanmar security services, the situation in northern Rakhine, Myanmar, has deteriorated rapidly into a humanitarian crisis that has resulted in more than 500,000 people displaced from Rakhine State crossing the border from Myanmar to Bangladesh – almost all of whom self-identify as Rohingya. Around 30,000 people were also internally displaced, mostly ethnic Rakhine people and other minority groups. Untold numbers are experiencing enormous deprivation and suffering as international humanitarian access is blocked to affected areas. This follows years of rising tensions and outbreaks of inter-communal violence in Rakhine, where there were already 120,000 people living in IDP camps. The Government of Myanmar is the primary duty bearer with respect to protecting the rights of all people in Myanmar. In this moment of crisis, the Government must safeguard the security of humanitarian workers and, most critically, re-establish unfettered humanitarian access to ensure the delivery of life-saving assistance (including food, WASH, and medical services), protection measures to all people on the basis of need without discrimination. Existing humanitarian operations have been severely disrupted, though international humanitarian organizations retain access to deliver aid in central Rakhine as part of ongoing operations. Restrictions mean the UN and international NGOs are unable to provide assistance to people internally displaced by the recent violence. The Government has stated it will provide assistance to all people affected by the violence through the Red Cross Movement, but there are concerns as to its capacity to reach all people in need. There have been widespread reports of human rights violations, including rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence, and unlawful violence, including the large-scale destruction of property and targeting of fleeing civilians. Limited access and information means that most facts are impossible to verify at this time, but UN agencies and human rights organizations have stated that reports, if proven, amount to atrocities and ethnic cleansing. Some official statements made by Myanmar authorities have condemned any human rights violations of unlawful violence that has occurred and committed to bring those involved to justice. It is imperative that steps are taken to prevent further violence, seek evidence to establish the facts, and investigate all allegations. Finally, the Security Council should continue to discuss the situation in Myanmar and call for further action by the UN Secretary-General and other senior UN officials.

Since attacks on police outposts by a group calling itself ARSA (Arakhan Rohingya Salvation Army) on 25 August 2017 and subsequent clearance operations by Myanmar security services, the situation in northern Rakhine, Myanmar, has deteriorated rapidly into a humanitarian crisis that has resulted in more than 500,000 people displaced from Rakhine State crossing the border from Myanmar to Bangladesh – almost all of whom self-identify as Rohingya. Around 30,000 people were also internally displaced, mostly ethnic Rakhine people and other minority groups. Untold numbers are experiencing enormous deprivation and suffering as international humanitarian access is blocked to affected areas. This follows years of rising tensions and outbreaks of inter-communal violence in Rakhine, where there were already 120,000 people living in IDP camps. The Government of Myanmar is the primary duty bearer with respect to protecting the rights of all people in Myanmar. In this moment of crisis, the Government must safeguard the security of humanitarian workers and, most critically, re-establish unfettered humanitarian access to ensure the delivery of life-saving assistance (including food, WASH, and medical services), protection measures to all people on the basis of need without discrimination. Existing humanitarian operations have been severely disrupted, though international humanitarian organizations retain access to deliver aid in central Rakhine as part of ongoing operations. Restrictions mean the UN and international NGOs are unable to provide assistance to people internally displaced by the recent violence. The Government has stated it will provide assistance to all people affected by the violence through the Red Cross Movement, but there are concerns as to its capacity to reach all people in need.

There have been widespread reports of human rights violations, including rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence, and unlawful violence, including the large-scale destruction of property and targeting of fleeing civilians. Limited access and information means that most facts are impossible to verify at this time, but UN agencies and human rights organizations have stated that reports, if proven, amount to atrocities and ethnic cleansing. Some official statements made by Myanmar authorities have condemned any human rights violations of unlawful violence that has occurred and committed to bring those involved to justice. It is imperative that steps are taken to prevent further violence, seek evidence to establish the facts, and investigate all allegations. Finally, the Security Council should continue to discuss the situation in Myanmar and call for further action by the UN Secretary-General and other senior UN officials.

Women Peace and Security

In its discussion and potential adoption of any outcome on women, peace and security (WPS), the UN Security Council should strongly reinforce the importance of implementing existing WPS resolutions and overcome the persisting gaps identified in the 2015 Global Study on the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), as well as in Mapping WPS in the UNSC in 2016. Thus far, in 2017, the Council has maintained or improved inclusion of WPS provisions on all relevant agenda items, including, notably, by including reference to WPS in 100% of all relevant presidential statements adopted on crisis situations. Importantly, attention to civil society organizations (CSOs), including women’s groups, and women human rights defenders (WHRDs), has been notably absent; only 43% of resolutions and presidential statements acknowledge the vital role of CSOs and the importance of ensuring their ability to operate freely without threat. There are also indications that consultations with CSOs, including women’s groups, within missions, continues to be ad-hoc, at best. In its discussions of WPS, the Council should:
  • Call for the full respect for and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of WHRDs and call for all DPKO and DPA-led missions to monitor and report on threats and violence targeting WHRDs.
  • Call for enhanced gender analysis in all reports on country situations that examines how gender norms can drive conflict and contribute to conflict prevention and resolution, including masculinities and sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI).
  • Reiterate support for the Informal Experts Group (IEG) on WPS and encourage all Council members to actively participate and strengthen engagement with CSOs, including women’s groups.
  • In the face of budget cuts, reiterate support for gender expertise by calling for senior gender advisors and senior women protection advisors to be both funded and rapidly deployed to ensure missions have sufficient gender expertise, authority, and capacity at a senior level.

In its discussion and potential adoption of any outcome on women, peace and security (WPS), the UN Security Council should strongly reinforce the importance of implementing existing WPS resolutions and overcome the persisting gaps identified in the 2015 Global Study on the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), as well as in Mapping WPS in the UNSC in 2016. Thus far, in 2017, the Council has maintained or improved inclusion of WPS provisions on all relevant agenda items, including, notably, by including reference to WPS in 100% of all relevant presidential statements adopted on crisis situations. Importantly, attention to civil society organizations (CSOs), including women’s groups, and women human rights defenders (WHRDs), has been notably absent; only 43% of resolutions and presidential statements acknowledge the vital role of CSOs and the importance of ensuring their ability to operate freely without threat. There are also indications that consultations with CSOs, including women’s groups, within missions, continues to be ad-hoc, at best. In its discussions of WPS, the Council should:

  • Call for the full respect for and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of WHRDs and call for all DPKO and DPA-led missions to monitor and report on threats and violence targeting WHRDs.
  • Call for enhanced gender analysis in all reports on country situations that examines how gender norms can drive conflict and contribute to conflict prevention and resolution, including masculinities and sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI).
  • Reiterate support for the Informal Experts Group (IEG) on WPS and encourage all Council members to actively participate and strengthen engagement with CSOs, including women’s groups.
  • In the face of budget cuts, reiterate support for gender expertise by calling for senior gender advisors and senior women protection advisors to be both funded and rapidly deployed to ensure missions have sufficient gender expertise, authority, and capacity at a senior level.