The NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security has released the May 2019 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 2019
For May, in which Indonesia has the presidency of the UN Security Council, the MAP provides recommendations on Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and Protection of civilians.
The situation in Iraq is unstable; at present, 1.8 million people remain displaced and thus far, no perpetrators of human rights abuses or violations have been held to account, and as a result, survivors are left with no reparations or compensation (OCHA). In extending the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), the Council should maintain the existing provision to mainstream gender as a cross-cutting issue, include a provision that mandates UNAMI to conduct regular consultations with women’s organizations, and report on specific steps taken to support women’s meaningful participation in peace and security processes (S/RES/2242 (2015)). There should be new language added which supports the important role of women-led organizations in preventing and addressing sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), as well as reiterating the importance of a rights-based approach to the reintegration of survivors into communities (S/RES/2467 (2019)). Further, given the failure of the Government to ensure gender parity in the new cabinet (S/2019/101), the Council should reinforce the importance of rhetorical commitments to women’s participation in leadership positions being translated into reality. Further, UNAMI should support the implementation of the current NAP on Resolution 1325 (2000) and development of a 2019-2023 NAP, which includes technical and financial support in a participatory manner with local communities, as well as assigning a budget to implement, monitor and evaluate it in accordance with specific indicators(S/RES/2242 (2015)). The Council should add new language to recognize and condemn violence and persecution against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (A/HRC/32/CRP.2) and request an update on the implementation of the UN-Iraq Joint Communiqué on the prevention and response to SGBV in Iraq. Further, the Council should urge the Government to swiftly amend articles 41, 128, 377, 380, 398, 409 and 427 of the Criminal Code (CEDAW) and pass the draft Protection Against Domestic Violence law with proposed amendments from Iraqi women’s rights organizations, including provisions that legally protect non-governmental shelters. Council members should also urge the Government to support women’s access to documentation, especially for those who are recovering from living under ISIL controlled areas. The Council should also express its support for community hearings that are designed to raise visibility on ISIL human rights crimes and create a pathway to accountability. Finally, the Investigative Team’s upcoming report should establish clear procedures for the investigation of sexual violence and other gender-based crimes committed by ISIL, including crimes committed against those individuals perceived as LGBTI or other gender non-conforming persons.
In the eight years since the revolution in Libya, the situation continues to be insecure and challenging. The recent sharp escalation of the situation is causing more restrictions to women’s movement, especially for women’s rights advocates, as well as civilians generally. The Security Council must demand a ceasefire and ensure all civilians are protected in accordance with international humanitarian law (IHL). Women, peace and security (WPS) should be mainstreamed across the entire work of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), and gender should be at the heart of any conflict analysis. It is essential that there is systematic consultation with women and women’s organizations from diverse perspectives, including youth and Indigenous groups, across UNSMIL’s entire work. In the recent political process, gender parity was not achieved; and with the current crisis, there is concern that women’s participation will fall even further. The forthcoming planned National Conference and elections must provide women with equal opportunity to substantively engage in and influence all phases of these processes. UNSMIL should provide an update on activities it has undertaken to address displacement and SGBV, as well as its efforts to support women’s participation in peace and reconciliation efforts, the security sector and in national institutions. Services for survivors of SGBV are non-existent, yet desperately needed, given the levels of SGBV. Despite the tremendous efforts and the humanitarian response program applied by several UN Agencies and INGOs for displaced civilians, urgent requests for humanitarian assistance are regularly called for, including women- and children-related needs and priorities. The Council should request an inquiry into the progress of disarmament and the efforts to promote the effective participation of women in related discussions.
Protection of Civilians
In the expected open debate on protection of civilians (POC), the Council should ensure the discussion is gender-informed. On this 20th anniversary of POC as an item on its agenda, the Council should commit to fully implementing the provisions of its thematic resolutions on POC, WPS and children and armed conflict. The Council should unequivocally condemn violations of IHL and international human rights law by all parties to conflicts. The Council should ensure that UN peace operations can protect civilians adequately, including through reinforcing the importance of women’s participation in all POC strategy development and activities. It is necessary that the Council’s work is grounded in gender-sensitive conflict analysis that contributes to the development of POC strategies and responses that are non-discriminatory and appropriate for all survivors and victims. The Council should encourage the participation and protection of women human rights defenders (WHRDs), peace activists, and survivors with full consideration of their safety, dignity, and the long-term needs of those individuals and their families. The Council should:
- Ensure that gender-sensitive POC is done in cooperation with humanitarian actors and with respect for humanitarian principles and international human rights law. Humanitarian organizations must be able to access women to deliver services and assistance and women must be able to move freely to access them. Furthermore, full funding of the Humanitarian Response Plans for the countries in conflict, especially the GBV cluster, is of utmost importance.
- Encourage host Governments to develop and implement nationally owned multi-sectoral strategies for preventing and responding to SGBV, including effective access to justice.
- Ensure peace operations are fully staffed – comprising appropriately-graded gender advisers – and sufficiently resourced to fulfil their mandates, including WPS obligations.
- Urge relevant regional and/or sub-regional bodies to develop and implement policies, activities and advocacy for the benefit of women and girls affected by armed conflict.
- Urge Member States to identify and regulate the influx of small arms and light weapons (SALW), including by establishing national mechanisms for rigorous, transparent, and gender-sensitive risk assessments of international transfers and export licenses, developed in full consultation with civil society organizations (CSOs), and denying arms sales or transfers authorization wherein arms use risk contravening the Arms Trade Treaty.
As the Council discusses the situation in Yemen, women’s meaningful participation in all aspects of the political and peace process should be emphasized. The Council must continue to pressure all parties to implement the Stockholm Agreement and comply with their obligation to allow and facilitate impartial, rapid and unimpeded delivery of humanitarian assistance to civilians in need under IHL. Any humanitarian assistance in the region must be gender-sensitive and be developed in partnership with local CSOs. Such assistance should include a full range of medical services, including psychosocial and sexual and reproductive health services, as well as access to legal assistance, education and employment, before, during, and after armed conflict (S/RES/2122 (2013), CEDAW/C/YEM/Q/7-8). The Council and UN offices in Yemen must support civil society efforts to establish emergency plans and humanitarian operation room teams, including hotlines for civilians to report violence or request humanitarian assistance, and ensure their protection. In addition, UN entities in Yemen should adopt a sustainable approach for gender-focused interventions, such as establishing GBV response structures and services and more solid protection programs for WHRDs that include relocation services, particularly since there are only four shelters for women run by the Women’s Union in the entire country. Moreover, the Council should ensure the participation of CSOs, women leaders, women’s groups, and youth representatives that reflect the ethnic, geographic, and political diversity of Yemen’s population in all conflict resolution and conflict management processes. Further, Council members should ask senior UN officials to provide updates regarding efforts to protect WHRDs and civil society activists and their access to legal support and essential services. Council members should support the mandate of the Group of Eminent Experts (GEE) and request all UN agencies to fully collaborate with the GEE, particularly those that have a presence inside Yemen and that benefit from direct access to Yemenis that have been subjected to human rights violations. The international community should provide continued support to the national human rights monitoring and reporting mechanism, particularly capacity-building support around women’s rights and gender-sensitive documentation of violations and abuses, to ensure that information and analysis are gender-sensitive, comprehensive and include documentation of attacks and threats against civil society. The Council must ensure that gender is mainstreamed into the work of the Sanctions Committee and that members of this committee consult with women-led CSOs. Further, national human rights organizations must be allowed to monitor and report on the human rights situation freely. All stakeholders must ensure women’s meaningful participation in discussion, design and implementation of peace and security strategies, including those that aim to counter violent extremism (S/RES/2122 (2013), OP 13; S/RES/2242 (2015), OP 13; CEDAW/C/YEM/Q/7-8). Finally, for this to be done effectively, capacity-building for relevant experts, including UN staff, peacebuilding and women’s CSOs, to undertake gender-sensitive conflict analysis and translate it into concrete actions, must be a priority.