The Security Council is due to receive the Secretary-General’s regular report on Afghanistan, ahead of the Council’s mandate renewal in October of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and the Istanbul and Bonn conferences on Afghanistan set for November and December respectively. The report should include a comprehensive assessment of ongoing violations of women’s right in Afghanistan to participate equally in public life and all Afghan peace processes. Previous UN reporting has been inconsistent in providing analysis and concrete recommendations regarding women’s civil and political rights. Council members should inquire about any lack of such reporting in the next report.
The Council is expected to discuss the Secretary-General’s report on “Maintenance of international peace and security: Optimizing the use of preventive diplomacy tools: Prospects and challenges in Africa”, as requested in S/PRST/2010/1. Given the focus in all Women, Peace and Security resolutions on the importance of women’s role in the prevention of conflict, and the reference to this role in S/PRST/2010/1, the report should provide concrete recommendations on how the Security Council can overcome the political obstacles to effective prevention measures, and how women will be supported in these processes. This should be a central topic of discussion in the expected high-level discussion on preventive diplomacy.
The Secretary-General’s next report on Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) should reflect the impact on peace of continued insecurity and instability, violence by armed forces, and arbitrary arrests in the South and West, and crimes of sexual violence. Women continue to be under-represented in decision-making bodies, including the Truth and Reconciliation Dialogue Commission. The report should provide a thorough analysis on these matters, and Council members should address key issues such as women’s participation in the peace processes; gender-based violence includes crimes of sexual violence; and how to ensure security sector reform and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes include measures to address the specific concerns of women. The Council should also inquire into concrete steps to address impunity for violence against women, particularly given the extensive use of sexual violence in the conflict in Côte d’Ivoire.
The Security Council will be discussing renewal of the UNMIL mandate (SCR 1938), which expires on 30 September 2011. Particular emphasis should be placed on the upcoming elections in October 2011, and the country’s high levels of sexual violence. While the government of Liberia has taken a lead in the region to promote women’s rights through new legislation and policy frameworks supporting the implementation of Women, Peace and Security resolutions, the representation of women in elected office remains low. There are concerns about electoral violence, and whether the country’s social reconciliation has been sufficiently prioritized, given lingering social divisions. The UNMIL mandate should call for targeted technical support for women for improved campaigning and lobbying skills, including through partnerships with civil society. The mandate should include concrete support for addressing the high levels of sexual violence, including replicating the women and children’s desks’ in police stations outside of Monrovia; support for strengthening the judicial system to ensure accountability for such crimes, including the court system and capacity of the police; and education and awareness campaigns. The UNMIL mandate should support the implementation of Liberia’s National Action Plan on SCR 1325.
The Council is likely to discuss the situation in Libya and the current developments in implementing, inter alia, SCR 1973 (2011). All actors, including the Security Council and the UN, should ensure that women participate at the highest levels of negotiation, including with the National Transitional Council, and that women?s rights are enshrined in all interim and permanent constitutional reform. In addition, with recent reports of Colonel al-Gaddafi’s regime using sexual violence as a tool of repression, the Council should ensure it supports the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecution of all those implicated in such crimes and should call for essential health services to be made available to survivors.
The Security Council is due to receive the Secretary-General?s next report on Sierra Leone, and will be discussing renewal of the UNIPSIL mandate (SCR 1941), which expires on 15 September 2011. Given preparations for elections in 2012, and that wide-spread sexual and gender-based violence is a legacy of Sierra Leone?s conflict, the report should include detailed information on why women continue to be under-represented in the political arena. This includes lack of human capital, political networks, and the intimidation and violence due to tensions with customary governance structures. The report and mandate should provide concrete recommendations and steps on addressing these barriers, such as how to implement the 2007 Gender Laws and the establishment of dedicated Family Support Units by the police. The UNIPSIL mandate should support the implementation of Sierra Leone?s National Action Plan on SCR 1325.
The Security Council is due to receive the Secretary-General?s next report on Somalia. The catastrophic humanitarian situation caused by drought is exacerbating the ongoing food shortages, drought and armed conflict, continuing to cause a massive displacement of people, as well as severe malnutrition. The chaos is increasing due to massive population displacement, as people seek refuge in neighboring countries. Gender-based violence is spreading, with women particularly exposed to the high insecurity and rape in the different refugee camps. The forthcoming Secretary-General?s report should provide gender-disaggregated data regarding the current situation, and concrete recommendations on how to ensure support for women?s empowerment and protection, given the humanitarian crisis and ongoing attempts at conflict resolution.
Abyei / South Sudan / Sudan
The Security Council is due to receive the Secretary-General’s report on the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei, Sudan (UNISFA). This report should detail areas of particular concern in the area, given the ongoing crimes in Southern Kordofan, including indiscriminate bombing of civilians, including women, blocking of aid, extra-judicial executions, destruction of property, sexual violence, and coerced returns of displaced persons. The Council should: firmly condemn and demand an end to Sudan’s indiscriminate bombing in civilian populated areas and other violations; call for unfettered access for humanitarian agencies to all affected areas; and take concrete action to ensure an independent human rights monitoring presence across Southern Kordofan. In addition, the Security Council should implement the recommendations of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to mandate an independent inquiry into the alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law that occurred during the hostilities in Southern Kordofan and hold perpetrators to account.
The situation in Syria is likely to be discussed by the Security Council, as the government continues its repression of pro-reform protests. The Security Council should refer the situation in Syria immediately to the ICC Prosecutor; impose a complete arms embargo on Syria preventing the transfer of all weaponry, munitions and related equipment and the provision of personnel; and implement an asset freeze against President Bashar al-Assad and others who may be involved in ordering or perpetrating serious human rights abuses.
In September, the Security Council is expected to extend the mandates of the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict (SRSG) and the Team of Experts (Rule of Law/Sexual Violence in Conflict) as per SCR 1888 (OP 28). The prevention of acts of sexual violence in conflict related situations, and the need for full reparations for such crimes, continues to be a major concern, exemplified by mass rape incidents in Fizi and Walikale, DRC. The Security Council, the Office of SRSG and all other relevant actors should ensure that survivors of sexual violence are meaningfully engaged in the design, implementation and evaluation of strategies and policy to address such crimes. The UN system, including the SRSG’s office and UN Missions, must follow-up on the recommendations of survivors in a comprehensive and concrete manner. Improved communications and information-sharing with survivors groups and other stakeholders is important to guarantee transparency and accountability. The Council should ensure that UN Mission mandates include specific provisions aimed at preventing, protecting and prosecuting against sexual violence. The Council should ensure that all UN country reports it has requested evaluate the status of women’s human rights, as per SCRs 1325, 1820 (OP 9), 1888 (OP 11), 1889 (OP 5) and 1960 (OP 6, 13). Member States should inquire about any lack of reporting.