The NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security has released the November 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 (MAP) for the Security Council: November 2020
For November, in which Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has the presidency of the UN Security Council, the MAP provides recommendations on:
- Central African Republic
Central African Republic
In its renewal of the mandate of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in CAR (MINUSCA), the Security Council should:
- Renew all existing mandate provisions related to women, peace and security (S/RES/2499 (2019), OPs 32(a)(iii), 32(b)(iii), 32(b)(iv), 32(b)(v), 33(b)(iv), 33(c)(i), 33(c)(ii), 33(d)(ii), 33(e)(vii)) and ensure that gender is prioritized as a cross-cutting issue throughout all aspects of the mandate.
- Call on MINUSCA to ground its efforts to prevent conflict in community-identified root causes of conflict and violence, including gender-based inequality and discrimination (Search for Common Ground); call on the mission to actively push back on efforts to close civic space, including by partnering with and expanding the capacity of women’s civil society (Oxfam); call on the mission to ensure its efforts to address the proliferation of small arms and light weapons are undertaken in a gender-responsive manner in collaboration with women’s civil society (S/RES/2499 (2019), OP 46); and request that the mission include gender-sensitive conflict analysis in its reporting.
- Strengthen the mission’s mandate in the context of providing electoral support to clearly articulate that the mission should ensure the full, equal, meaningful and safe participation and leadership in all aspects of the electoral process, including for candidates, voters and poll workers (S/RES/2499 (2019), OP 32(c)).
- Strengthen the mission’s mandate as it relates to support for rule of law and access to justice, including specifically its support for the Special Criminal Court, and in this regard urge the mission to ensure its technical and administrative support is gender-responsive and inclusive of civil society, including women’s organizations and victims’ associations. Call on the mission to ensure its support to strengthening the rule of law is gender-sensitive.
- Strengthen the mandate of the mission as it relates to gender-sensitive, survivor-centered approaches to preventing and addressing gender-based violence by including language calling on the mission to collaborate with women’s civil society organizations, ensure all efforts are inclusive of diverse women, including women and girls with disabilities (Women Enabled International), and ensure legal assistance is included in assistance for survivors (S/RES/2499 (2019), OP 32(a)(iii)).
- Call on the international community to increase its funding in critical areas, including comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services and access to justice, including via the protection cluster. The lack of adequate funding has detrimental consequences to survivors/victims of gender-based violence; only 42% reported they had access to medical follow-up and 33% had access to legal support (Oxfam). Lack of adequate financial support for justice initiatives like the SCC and, importantly, ordinary courts, impacts overall capacity to deliver justice.
In its discussion of the situation in Libya, including the recent ceasefire and resumption of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF), and the latest report of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), the Council should remind UNSMIL of its commitment to implement the WPS agenda and call on UNSMIL to ensure the meaningful participation of diverse women in all deliberations, decisions and outcomes of the Forum. Senior UN officials should provide clear and detailed updates and analysis of efforts made to ensure women’s full, equal and meaningful participation and leadership in the current peace and political dialogues UNSMIL facilitates, including on any barriers (S/2020/832) and on mechanisms to protect women’s rights organizations and women peacebuilders from threats and reprisals, as requested by its mandate (S/RES/2542 (2020)). If this information is not provided during briefings, Council members should follow up. Further, Council members are encouraged to welcome the recommendations from recent consultations with women’s civil society leaders and support integration of these priorities in the upcoming LPDF, particularly around ensuring women’s participation and gender priorities in the new government (including 30% women in parliament) and LPDF outcome, as well as including women in all tracks. Moreover, in their statements Council members should call on UNSMIL to communicate transparently and sufficiently with women’s rights organizations in Libya with regards to the structure and design of peace and political processes they facilitate, in accordance with Resolution 2242 (2015), enabling them to advocate for women’s meaningful participation in national delegations participating in peace and political dialogues.
Public space for women to voice their opinions and take an active role in political and peacebuilding processes is rapidly shrinking: amid continued reports of intimidation and abduction of women leaders (Amnesty International), the Council should call on UNSMIL to clearly address these gendered barriers to political access and work with Libyan authorities to implement protection mechanisms to enable women, including human rights defenders, to participate safely and actively in public space without the fear of reprisal (S/2020/832). The Council should further call on UNSMIL to uphold its mandate (S/RES/2542 (2020)) to investigate and document all ongoing violations and possible war crimes committed in Libya, including extrajudicial killings, torture, rape and targeting of civilians and civilian objects, particularly in detention centers that lack female guards and where women and girl migrants and refugees are most at risk of gender-based violence (Amnesty), even following the ceasefire agreement (Human Rights Watch). The Council should call out Libyan authorities’ consistent failure to address long-standing patterns of abuse against refugees and migrants, including by state officials and affiliated militias (Amnesty), despite being well-documented (Amnesty, UNSMIL/OHCHR). Finally, the Council should ensure that an effective and coordinated gender-sensitive strategic approach for security sector reform emphasizing the reintegration of women in the security sector, quality services for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence and disarmament is a priority, including in the Humanitarian Response Plan of 2021.
The Security Council’s discussions on the situation in Yemen have historically failed to reflect important gender dimensions, despite multiple meetings of the Security Council Informal Expert Group on WPS (S/2017/627, S/2017/1040, S/2019/253) and briefings by civil society in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. The Council should consider the report of the Group of Eminent Experts (GEE), which echoed what women’s groups have been vocal about in the last few years on arbitrary detention, torture and sexual violence against women and girls, and more importantly hold perpetrators of sexual and gender-based violence and child recruitment accountable (GEE). The emergence of COVID-19 in the region has exacerbated the already dire humanitarian situation and fragile health infrastructure in Yemen. Fatality rates are 10 times higher than the global average and are among the highest in the region, with public health officials warning that extreme vulnerability combined with low general immunity puts Yemen at exceptional risk (OCHA). Ongoing violence in Yemen, including the recent escalation of violence in the Marib governorate (What’s in Blue), has undermined the ability of humanitarian actors to provide assistance and to respond to outbreaks of COVID-19 and other preventable diseases, resulting in increased rates of violence, including gender-based violence. The Council should support women’s calls for local ceasefire in Marib (Women Solidarity Network).
The conflict remains the largest driver of food insecurity in the country, which has disproportionately affected women and children (Oxfam). As of September 2020, 1.4 million pregnant or breastfeeding women suffered from malnutrition due to food insecurity in Yemen (Oxfam). In its discussion following the Secretary-General’s briefing on the implementation of Resolution 2201 (2015), Resolution 2451 (2018), and Resolution 2505 (2020) and recent developments in Yemen, the Council should focus on the urgency of upholding and supporting a sustainable and nationwide ceasefire in line with Resolution 2532 (2020) that would support viable conditions for protecting civilians including women, prioritizing the release of women arbitrarily detained without conditions, enabling the delivery of humanitarian aid and lead to a resumption of peace negotiations.
Renewed negotiations for a political settlement, in keeping with the principles of WPS, necessitate women’s full, equal and meaningful participation, and active engagement with women and women’s organizations on the ground. The Council must support Yemen’s National Action Plan for Women, Peace and Security, taking into consideration women-led civil society recommendations in ensuring accountability and inclusion in the implementation of the plan. The Council must continue to pressure all parties to implement the Stockholm Agreement and comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law to allow and facilitate impartial, rapid and unimpeded delivery of humanitarian assistance. Such assistance must be gender-responsive, account for the needs of frontline health workers, and be developed in partnership with local civil society. It 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, and other health and sanitation services before, during and after armed conflict (S/RES/2122 (2013), CEDAW/C/YEM/Q/7-8). The Council must support the Riyadh peace agreement signed in November 2019 with a resolution to support its implementation and prioritize women’s calls to relocate military camps and depots from cities. The Council must continue to emphasize the necessity of women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in formal peace and political processes, as well as in parallel or complementary processes taking place at the local level, and must ensure no less than the 30% quota of women in all processes as a matter of urgency (WILPF). The Council must consider supporting the appointment of a woman mediator to replace the current UN Special Envoy as his term is coming to an end.