The NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security has released the May 2017 version of the Monthly Action Points (MAP) on Women, Peace and Security for the UN Security Council.
The MAP provides analysis and advocacy entry points on country situations and thematic issues on the Security Council’s agenda for the forthcoming month. These brief notes are designed for Security Council Members, civil society actors, Member States, and UN entities, and are for wide distribution.
Monthly Action Points (MAP) for the Security Council: May 2017
For May, in which Uruguay has the presidency of the UN Security Council, the MAP provides recommendations on the situations in Somalia, Sudan / South Sudan, and Syria, as well as the thematic agenda items of sexual violence in conflict and protection of civilians.
In the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), the Council should ensure UNISFA’s human rights monitoring mandate is gender-sensitive by expanding the existing mandate (SCR 2287 (2016), OP 25) to include provisions which require UNISFA to specifically monitor for violations targeting women. Additionally, the Council should broaden its commitment to women’s participation, mentioned in the mandate’s preambular paragraphs, by providing concrete measures to promote the empowerment of women, including building women’s participation in decision-making processes, and addressing barriers to the implementation of the women, peace and security resolutions. The Council should also include gender training for security forces and call for comprehensive implementation of the United Nations zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse in accordance with SCRs 1990 (2011)and 2272 (2016).
The Security Council will be holding an open debate to discuss the latest report of the Secretary-General on protection of civilians and attacks on medical facilities. At the debate, Member States should discuss the ways in which women’s participation, including through civil society organizations, is mainstreamed across efforts to develop, implement and monitor protection strategies, including in humanitarian settings. Member States should reinforce the importance of ensuring protection of civilians’ strategies actively engage with local communities in order to ensure inclusive and effective outcomes.
In the Security Council’s forthcoming open debate on sexual violence in conflict, participants should provide details regarding their efforts and proposals for future action on the following key issues related to conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV). Sexual and gender-based crimes are often perpetrated by individuals holding arms and guns, and increased military or armed group activities bring a greater risk of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) attacks. We urge all participants to consider the following recommendations:
- Women, women’s civil society organizations and survivors must be part of the negotiations and monitoring of ceasefires and peace processes; the design and implementation of protection of civilian strategies, including in humanitarian settings; development of strategies aimed at preventing violence, conflict, and violent extremism; and investigations undertaken by sanctions committees and experts’ groups.
- Gender equality and women’s and girl’s empowerment must be central to any effort to prevent, address and ensure justice for CRSV. These efforts should be situated in the broader context of conflict prevention and maintenance of international peace and security (SCR 2242 (2015)).
- Ensure accountability for SGBV, including those amounting to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. International humanitarian law and human rights law should be adapted and integrated within national laws, particularly legislation aimed at preventing, addressing and ensuring justice for domestic violence and other acts of SGBV. Ethnic and other minorities including LGBT individuals and those that defy gender stereotypes must be afforded particular protection as they are often targeted for specific acts of CRSV.
- Gender-sensitive humanitarian responses, in line with international humanitarian law (IHL), including for displaced populations, must ensure women and girls’ needs are assessed and addressed. Women and girls fleeing conflict must be afforded safe passage and protection, including from SGBV, while in transit and in final destinations.
- Women and girls in humanitarian settings must have access to the full range of livelihood, legal, psychosocial and non-discriminatory medical services, including sexual and reproductive services. Aid should be provided in line with IHL and not subject to any donor restrictions to ensure comprehensive medical care, including safe abortion.
- Finally, there is an urgent need to curb the flow of guns and other weapons, which exacerbate levels of SGBV. The Security Council must confront this issue, including by encouraging states to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty and establish enforceable national and regional regulations on small arms, consistent with Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) General Recommendation No. 30. Prevention efforts must also address the role of both governmental and non-governmental actors in facilitating trafficking, including the role of military bases as trafficking hubs.
In its renewal of the mandate of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), the Council should add a provision calling for gender to be considered a cross-cutting issue in the implementation of its mandate. In addition, the Council must call on Somali authorities, AMISOM and United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) to ensure women and girls are protected from sexual violence, including sexual exploitation and abuse (SCR 2102 (2013), OP 11). The Council should, additionally, call on Somali authorities and mandate AMISOM and UNSOM to protect women politicians, journalists, human rights defenders and civil society leaders, and bring to justice perpetrators who target women leaders. Finally, the Council must also call on Somali authorities and AMISOM to ensure women, girls, boys and other non-combatant males are protected, and to provide safe passage to civilians during military offensives to recapture towns under Al-Shabaab control.
During its consideration of the situation in South Sudan and discussion of the recent report on the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the Council should call on the mission to hold regular consultations with local women’s civil society organizations to ensure protection strategies, including those in and around UNMISS protection of civilians sites, are responsive to women’s security concerns (SCR 2252 (2015), OP 8(a)(i), (v), (vi); (b)(i), (ii), (iii)). Furthermore, the Council should inquire as to how the Regional Protection Force for Juba will incorporate the women, peace and security agenda as it prepares to deploy, and how UNMISS will improve its response to women’s protection concerns following its strategic review (S/2016/951). In regards to the ongoing political dialogue, the Council should reaffirm its commitment to women’s representation in official decision-making institutions and meaningful participation in any peace process moving forward. The Security Council must apply all necessary pressure to ensure that women from national and grassroots organizations are included in the dialogue, as well as in the implementation and monitoring of any outcomes. Recent reporting by the Secretary-General on UNMISS has improved in its inclusion of information on women, peace and security; Council members should highlight this as a positive trend and call for continued gender mainstreaming in future reporting.
In its consideration of the report on the humanitarian and political situation, the Council should call for protection of Syrian civil society organizations, including women’s groups and aid workers. Discussion and action should reflect the gender-specific consequences of attacks on these groups, including increasing attacks against humanitarian convoys delivering medical supplies, and against medical workers and facilities. Further, Council members should call for the meaningful participation of Syrian women and civil society, including women’s organizations and human rights defenders, in the design and implementation of gender-sensitive humanitarian aid strategies, both inside Syria and in neighboring countries (SCRs 2122 (2013) and 2242 (2015); A/HRC/34/64). Further, the Council should ensure that relevant international actors adequately address women’s particular needs, such as secure access to sanitation and hygiene facilities, and health assistance that includes sexual and reproductive health, family planning, and maternal health services. The Council should inquire into any lack of reporting on the concrete steps necessary to ensure women’s full and meaningful inclusion in all stages of the peace process, such as efforts of local civil society, including by women’s groups, to ensure agreements are gender-sensitive and grounded in the experiences of local populations. The Council must also ensure Syrian women’s meaningful participation in the UN-facilitated political process (SCR 2254 (2015)). 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 by guaranteeing the transparent collection and dissemination of information and the representative nature of information sourced, including by cooperating with civil society organizations and engaging with local sources. All mechanisms established to facilitate civil society participation, including engagement with diverse perspectives of civil society, should be fully resourced, supported, accessible, transparent, and inclusive of refugees from Syria and marginalized groups. Finally, the Council should ensure women’s meaningful participation in the establishment and operation of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (A/71/L.48 (2016)) to assist in the investigation of serious crimes committed in Syria since 2011, including in detention centers, and that the mechanism fully investigates sexual and gender-based crimes.