Women, Peace and Security
Expected Council Action
In late April, the Council is expected to hold an open debate on conflict-related sexual violence during which it will also consider the Secretary-General’s report on this issue (S/2014/181). The Secretary-General and Zainab Bangura, the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, will brief. It seemed possible that a civil society representative might also participate on behalf of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security. At press time, no outcome was planned.
(For more analysis of the Council’s recent work on women’s protection and participation, please refer to SCR’s forthcoming Cross-Cutting Report on Women, Peace and Security, to be published in mid-April.)
Key Recent Developments
The report, the second stewarded by Bangura to date, highlights several concerns, such as sexual violence in the context of contested political processes; sexual violence as a driving factor in displacement; sexual violence against men and boys; lack of access to justice for survivors; and the correlation between sexual violence and inadequate security sector reform (SSR) and disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) efforts.
The 2014 report provides country-specific information in two categories:
- Parties credibly suspected of committing or being responsible for rape or other forms of sexual violence in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic (CAR), Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Mali, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan/Darfur, Syria and Yemen; and
- Sexual violence in post-conflict situations in Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Liberia, Libya, Nepal, Sierra Leone and Sri Lanka.
The report added Cambodia to the list while removing Timor-Leste and shifted Angola from “other situations of concern” in 2013 to the “post-conflict” category, as the former category was dropped in 2014.
As in 2013, the current report also includes an annex listing parties credibly suspected of committing or being responsible for rape and other forms of sexual violence in situations of armed conflict on the Council’s agenda. An addition to the 2014 annex is South Sudan (Sudan People’s Liberation Army, South Sudan National Police Service, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in opposition and the Lord’s Resistance Army [LRA]).
The annex also includes several other changes as compared with the 2013 list. Armed opposition elements in Syria were added to the list that already included Syrian government forces, intelligence forces and regime-allied militias. Anti-Balaka forces were added to the existing CAR entry that included ex-Seleka forces and the LRA. For Côte d’Ivoire and the DRC, the militias, armed groups and government forces remained largely unchanged in the annex.
The Council held three formal meetings on women, peace and security in 2013. On 17 April, the Council held an open debate on the 2013 annual report on sexual violence in conflict. On 24 June, the Council adopted resolution 2106, focusing on accountability for perpetrators of sexual violence in conflict and stressing women’s political and economic empowerment as central to the long-term prevention of sexual violence
Despite resolution 2106, a dedicated section on accountability was dropped in the 2014 report along with its accountability-specific recommendation to the Council, including ICC referrals. (The accountability recommendation had been included in the 2012 and 2013 reports and the separate accountability section was part of the 2013 report.)
Finally, on 18 October, the Security Council adopted resolution 2122 to address the persistent gaps in the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda.
An ongoing key issue for the Council is maintaining consensus around the importance of the overall women, peace and security framework and ensuring that it is integrated into the work of the Council in a meaningful and operational way. This is particularly important for the women’s participation aspects of this thematic agenda.
Ongoing options for the Council include taking up recommendations from the 2014 report for immediate integration into its country-specific work. The Council could:
- consider appropriate action when renewing or establishing relevant political or peacekeeping missions, especially in the context of DDR, SSR and justice reform processes;
- continue to ensure the deployment of gender expertise in missions, in particular women’s protection advisers;
- expand the call for the implementation of the monitoring, analysis and reporting arrangements on conflict-related sexual violence in all relevant mission mandates;
- direct relevant sanctions committees to consider whether parties named in the annex should be subject to existing sanctions or whether designation criteria should be expanded to include sexual violence;
- encourage police- and troop-contributing countries to address all allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers; and
- commit to calling for the inclusion of sexual violence concerns in mediation and peace processes, particularly in the context of security arrangements and transitional justice mechanisms.
Most Council members, with the support of the Special Representative and UN Women, seem to be focused on 2014 as a year to consolidate implementation of resolution 2106 and resolution 2122 versus seeking new outcomes.
Many of the same issues that made advancement of this thematic issue in 2012 difficult re-emerged in the negotiations of these resolutions in 2013. For the last several years China and Russia—as well as some elected Council members such as Azerbaijan, India and Pakistan, none of which are Council members in 2014—have tried to narrow the scope of the reporting on women, peace and security, particularly on situations that in their view do not constitute threats to international peace and security. The compromise that has emerged is language in women, peace and security outcomes that refers to “armed conflict and post-conflict situations” rather than the more general “conflict”.
This dynamic now seems to have extended to the 2014 report on conflict-related sexual violence. Previous sexual violence reports included reporting on countries that were not armed conflict or post-conflict situations in the now discontinued category of “other situations of concern”.
Finally, having focused on accountability for sexual violence in 2013, some Council members may be interested in knowing why the dedicated section on accountability, and its recommendation–including ICC referrals–was dropped in the 2014 report.
The ICC has been a sensitive issue, with Rwanda objecting consistently to such references in Council outcomes on both country-specific and thematic issues, including during the negotiations of resolution 2106 focusing on accountability for perpetrators of sexual violence in conflict.
The UK is the penholder on women, peace and security in the Council. The US is the penholder on sexual violence issues.
|Security Council Resolutions
|18 October 2013 S/RES/2122
|This resolution addressed the persistent gaps in the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda, as highlighted in the most recent Secretary-Generals report.
|24 June 2013 S/RES/2106
|This was a resolution focusing on accountability for perpetrators of sexual violence in conflict and stressing women’s political and economic empowerment.
|16 December 2010 S/RES/1960
|This resolution established a monitoring, analysis and reporting mechanism on conflict-related sexual violence in situations on the Council’s agenda, and also called upon parties to armed conflict to make specific, time-bound commitments to prohibit and punish sexual violence and asked the Secretary-General to monitor those commitments.
|5 October 2009 S/RES/1889
|This resolution urged member states, UN bodies, donors and civil society to ensure that women’s protection and empowerment is taken into account during post-conflict needs assessment and planning.
|30 September 2009 S/RES/1888
|This resolution strengthened efforts to end sexual violence against women and children in armed conflict.
|19 June 2008 S/RES/1820
|This addressed sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict situations and asked the Secretary-General for a report by 30 June 2009 with information on the systematic use of sexual violence in conflict areas and proposals for strategies to minimize the prevalence of such acts with benchmarks for measuring progress.
|31 October 2000 S/RES/1325
|This was the resolution on women, peace and security, in particular expressing the Council’s willingness to incorporate a gender perspective into peacekeeping missions, calling on all parties to protect women and girls from gender-based violence and to put an end to impunity for such crimes.
|Security Council Meeting Records
|18 October 2013 S/PV.7044
|The annual open debate on the implementation of resolution 1325, focusing on the theme of women, rule of law and transitional justice in conflict-affected situations.
|24 June 2013 S/PV.6984
|This was a ministerial-level open debate on prevention of sexual violence.
|17 April 2013 S/PV.6948
|This was the Security Council’s open debate on Women, Peace and Security on the Secretary-General’s annual report on sexual violence in conflict (S/2013/149).
|12 March 2014 S/2014/181
|This was the third annual report on conflict-related sexual violence.
|4 September 2013S/2013/525
|This report was on the implementation of resolution 1325. It called for greater attention to the full spectrum of threats faced by women and girls and reported that the Security Council, in its work, often did not consider the linkages between security and women’s participation.
|14 March 2013 S/2013/149
|This was the second annual report on sexual violence in conflict.