The NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security has released the January 2020 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 for the Security Council: January 2020
For January, in which Viet Nam has the presidency of the UN Security Council, the MAP provides recommendations on: CAR, Cyprus, South Sudan and Yemen.
Central African Republic
The situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) remains insecure due to ongoing tensions between armed factions. As of November 2019, the UN estimates that more than 690,000 have been displaced as a result of recent violence (OCHA). Extensive reports of SGBV and slavery have been documented; survivors report having been assaulted in their homes, during door-to-door raids, or as they fled the violence. Most survivors do not have access to basic sexual and reproductive health services, such as essential post-rape medical or mental health care until days or weeks later, if at all, due to a non-functioning health system, lack of knowledge about services, or lack of funds to pay for medical care and associated costs. In this regard, the explicit inclusion of survivors of sexual violence and internally displaced persons as essential participants to the public and political life in the CAR in the Council’s latest mandate renewal of MINUSCA is welcomed (S/RES/2499 (2019), PP, OP 32, 44). In its renewal of the mandate of the panel of experts and sanctions regime, the Council should:
- Require that the benchmarks established as a means to guide the progressive lifting of the sanctions (S/PRST/2019/3) mainstream human rights considerations, particularly in the context of vetting of former members of armed groups, as well as in the context of ensuring the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants is gender-sensitive. The failure to include any reference to human rights in the benchmarks is a considerable gap that should be addressed.
- Call for the inclusion of gender expertise in the panel of experts to support the consideration of gender as a cross-cutting issue across its work (S/RES/2399 (2018), OP 35, 39; S/RES/2242 (2015), OP 6)).
- Call for the inclusion of information on the situation for women, including sex and age-disaggregated data, and gender-sensitive conflict analysis throughout all reports of the panel of experts.
All existing women, peace and security (WPS) provisions in the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) should be maintained. Further, the language in the mandate stating the mission should support women’s meaningful participation, should be clarified to note this encompasses the missions’ activities related to bi-communal efforts, reconciliation, conflict resolution, and the peace process. All relevant UN offices in Cyprus should support the inclusion of women as full participants and integrate a gender perspective throughout the peace process to ensure gender concerns are addressed in any eventual outcomes.
The Security Council should ensure that gender is mainstreamed across all discussions of the situation in South Sudan. As implementation of the IGAD-facilitated Revitalized Peace Agreement proceeds, the increased role of women in all aspects of the process must be addressed with greater urgency. Women’s representation and participation in the sub-national power structure (states and counties) should reflect the 35% quota. Currently, there is not one female governor among the 32 state governors. United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) should monitor and support such dialogue. SGBV continues to be a key concern in South Sudan; the Government must implement the signed Joint Communiqué on the prevention of conflict-related sexual violence. Further, there must be improved protection and security measures for women and girls, both within and outside of protection of civilians sites. This includes special attention to the accountability for SGBV. The Council should call on the government to operationalize the mobile court system and ensure that standard procedures to respond to cases of SGBV are in place, as well as to implement chapter five of the Revitalized Peace Agreement, which highlights accountability and reconciliation. UNMISS should closely monitor the operationalization of the SGBV court and implementation of chapter five provisions, to ensure they are on track. UNMISS should continue monitoring of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees, particularly women and early warning signs. Gender-sensitive community violence reduction programs (CVR), developed in consultation with women, should be prioritized. These conversations must be structured around the meaningful participation of, and consultation with, women in protection of civilians sites, as well as consider gender analysis of the broader context and ensure women and girls’ protections are particularly taken into account.
The Security Council’s discussions on the situation in Yemen have historically failed to reflect important gender dimensions of the situation, despite multiple meetings of the Informal Expert Group on WPS (S/2017/627, S/2017/1040, S/2019/253) and briefings by civil society in 2017, 2018 and 2019. In the context of the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Mission to support the Hudaydah Agreement (UNMHA), the failure to include any gender-sensitive language in the Stockholm Agreement, which guides the work of the mission, should not be taken as justification for the mission to overlook gender as a cross-cutting issue as it carries out its work. UNMHA should be called upon to ensure it is actively engaging with women and women’s organizations as it carries out its work, and all conflict analysis should be gender-sensitive. More broadly, the Council must continue to emphasize the necessity of women’s full, equal, and meaningful participation in formal and high-level peace and political processes, as well as in parallel or complementary processes taking place at the local level. Barriers to women’s meaningful participation should be discussed in briefings and statements, reflecting discussions in the IEG on WPS meeting, and factored into policymaking and programming carried out by UN entities and other stakeholders. The Council should also continue to pressure the UN Special Envoy to include women in all present and future peace consultations and negotiations, and call for the release of the findings from all review processes related to the peace process in order to aid in identifying gaps and ways to improve future processes. The Council must call on parties to release civilian detainees, including women detainees, and exert pressure to end the recruitment of children into armed groups. The Council must continue to pressure all parties to implement the Stockholm Agreement and comply with their obligation under international humanitarian law (IHL) to allow and facilitate impartial, rapid and unimpeded delivery of humanitarian assistance that is gender-sensitive and developed in partnership with local CSOs. These should consist of 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 must pressure the conflict parties to agree to a nationwide ceasefire that includes a gender perspective and an explicit call to cease all acts of SGBV, and refrain from opening new fronts or renew fighting. The Council and UN offices in Yemen must support civil society efforts to establish emergency plans and humanitarian operation room teams. UN entities in Yemen should adopt a sustainable approach for gender-focused interventions, such as establishing SGBV response structures and services and effective protection programs for WHRDs. Further, Council members should ask senior UN officials to provide updates regarding efforts to protect human rights defenders and civil society activists, and their access to legal support and essential services. The international community should provide continued support to the national human rights monitoring and reporting mechanism, including capacity-building support around women’s rights and gender-sensitive documentation of violations and abuses. 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 the design, implementation and review of all conflict resolution, conflict management, and countering violent extremism processes and efforts (S/RES/2122 (2013), OP 13; S/RES/2242 (2015), OP 13; CEDAW/C/YEM/Q/7-8).