For September, in which the United States has the presidency of the UN Security Council, the MAP provides recommendations on Afghanistan, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya and Yemen.
In its discussion of the report on the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), the Council should ensure that gender is a cross-cutting issue across any consultations, briefings and potential action. It is imperative that gender analysis is mainstreamed throughout the report. In discussions of the forthcoming parliamentary and district council elections, announced by the Independent Election Commission to take place on 20 October 2018, it is crucial that challenges to women’s participation are a particular focus. According to the Secretary-General (S/2018/539), as of May only 28% of registered voters are women; urgent efforts are needed by international partners to provide concrete support for women’s groups to ensure women’s full participation in every aspect of the electoral process. The international community must demonstrate its continued commitment to the Afghan people by supporting women’s voices in any peace process as well as peace and security decision-making, including through support of the implementation and localization of the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda, particularly given the sustained violence against women leaders and human rights defenders (HRDs) (S/RES/2242 (2015)).
In its discussion of the forthcoming Secretary-General’s report and review of the mandate of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, the Council should examine progress on the security guarantees and protection efforts, including collective security protocols, for women community leaders, women HRDs, as well as women and girls who are former combatants or formerly associated with FARC-EP. Any briefings and reports should include information on the ways in which the Mission and the Government are upholding and funding commitments under the Ethnic Chapter while assisting Afro-descendant and Indigenous organizations and their respective authorities. Discussions should particularly mention establishing and maintaining community-based, gender-responsive self-protection and early warning response systems to address armed actor violence in areas formerly under control of FARC-EP and other armed groups. Furthermore, security guarantees that protect and safeguard social leaders and former combatants are crucial when considering the rise of armed violence in the country. The Council should extend the Mission’s presence in the country to provide age and gender-sensitive reintegration support; specifically, socioeconomic guarantees and income generation projects, women’s acquisition of land, education, and health services, which encompass sexual and reproductive health care that is inclusive of pregnant and lactating women and girls living in the territorial spaces in for training and reincorporation. All reintegration initiatives should utilize sex and age-disaggregated data, and be designed, implemented, and monitored through/in regular consultation and engagement with women and girls formerly associated with armed groups and women’s organizations, particularly after the approval of the eight-year reintegration policy. Further, the new Government should continue to support the former fighters’ reincorporation into civilian life and strengthen Colombia’s absorption capacity which is key for sustainable peacebuilding efforts. The uncontrolled proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons continues to destabilize certain areas of the country and increase women’s insecurity. In this context, the Council should call on the Government to update and strengthen arms control regulations and permits in order to ensure that arms are not used to commit or facilitate human rights violations, including through the ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). Finally, the Council should keep track of modifications made to the Peace Agreement, particularly security guarantees and reintegration aspects of the accord, and request information regarding local-level implementation of the peace agreement to ensure that women and ethnic minority groups are included in reconstruction measures.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
In light of the forthcoming discussion regarding the latest reports on the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), the Council must discuss the participation of women in the peace agreement and political processes as a priority issue. The information provided by the Secretary-General on the extent to which women are engaged in implementing the political agreement has been non-existent in recent updates (S/2018/174, S/2018/128, S/2017/963, S/2018/655). The Council should inquire as to MONUSCO’s efforts to engage all women in political processes at all levels, including in the context of the significant concerns that have been raised regarding the newly signed electoral law and ensure continued protection of women activists, candidates, and civil society representatives in light of continued threats to their safety and security. Further, the drafting of three bills which would enact restrictions on the ways in which CSOs operate, and also force HRDs to register with the Government, should be of particular concern given the ongoing targeting of CSOs and activists. The Council should accordingly call on the Government and elected officials to vote down the laws. Finally, the Council should demand the urgent implementation of the recommendations of the Commission of Investigation (Commission d’Enquête Mixte 3121) regarding the violent oppression of peaceful demonstrations by the security forces on 31 December 2017 and on 21 January 2018.
In its renewal of the mandate for the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), all current WPS-related provisions should be maintained. The Council should add additional provisions that require UNSMIL to prioritize all activities related to the protection and promotion of women’s rights and support for active participation in political processes as fundamental to ensuring long-term sustainable peace. 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. The Security Council should acknowledge that while the latter has helped revive the political process, re-establish the UN in Tripoli and hold long-awaited elections in Zawiya, it has failed to ensure gender parity in its consultative phase. In fact, less than 25% of participants were women. The Security Council should take this opportunity to reiterate that UNSMIL and the Presidential Council should ensure the inclusion of women in all peace and security processes, and that upcoming National Conference and elections have to provide women with the same opportunities to substantively engage in and impact all phases of these processes from consultation to implementation to monitoring and evaluation to reporting. Updates should be provided regarding UNSMIL’s efforts to support the Government in preventing arbitrary detention of women and girls as well as improving the deteriorating conditions of the women’s prison as reported from the last Secretary-General report (S/2018/429). The Council should ensure investigation and monitoring of these violations and equally address the needs of survivors of SGBV by including new provisions in UNSMIL’s mandate which call for the mission to ensure the safety, dignity and long-term needs of survivors and their families including by supporting CSOs in their efforts. Moreover, the Security Council should address the increasing security and political pressure from Libyan authorities against women HRDs and CSOs who are at risk of persecution due to partnerships with international organizations, by calling on the Government to protect CSOs and HRDs and support their work.
As the Security Council discusses the situation in Yemen, it should promptly increase its attention to security efforts and provision of gender-sensitive humanitarian assistance in the region, developed in partnership with local civil society organizations. Three years of conflict have seen Yemen grapple with a cholera outbreak and a major humanitarian crisis with 22 million people requiring humanitarian assistance, of whom the UN has warned that 8.4 million are at risk of famine. The Council and the Coalition’s international partners should call for a countrywide ceasefire. Hudayah port is one of the most important points 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 to supply routes or attack on the port risks cutting off the lifeline to most Yemenis. Full backing of the UN Special Envoy’s efforts is necessary to secure permanent access routes across the country for the delivery of critical aid, food and medical supplies, specifically for women, children and people with chronic diseases such as kidney failure and diabetes. Further, support of his efforts to restart an inclusive peace process to bring the conflict to an end must be done in a gender-sensitive way that responds to women and girls’ differentiated experiences, and must have all parties comply to their obligation to allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded delivery of impartial humanitarian assistance for civilians in need under international humanitarian law (CEDAW/C/YEM/Q/7-8). The Council and the UN offices on the ground must support the local civil society to establish emergency plans and humanitarian operation room teams, including hotlines to help civilians and ensure that these workers are not targeted and are protected. Moreover, the Council should inquire about the lack of participation in conflict resolution and conflict management processes by CSOs, women leaders, women’s groups, and youth representatives that reflect the diversity of Yemen’s population, including ethnic, geographical and political affiliation; as well as, efforts to protect women HRDs and civil society activists, and their access to legal support and essential services. Council members should call for an international commission of inquiry as well as continued support of the national human rights monitoring and reporting mechanism to ensure that information and analysis are comprehensive and include documentation of attacks and threats against civil society. Further, there should be greater civic space for national human rights organizations to monitor and report on the human rights situation. 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, in order for this to be done effectively, capacity building for relevant experts, 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; education and livelihood services, and the access necessary both before, during, and after, armed conflict (S/RES/2122 (2013), CEDAW/C/YEM/Q/7-8).