The Security Council convened on 13 February 2014 (S/PV.7110) to unanimously adopt resolution 2137, extending the mandate of BNUB and requesting the transition to a UN Country Team. No references were made to women, peace and security concerns. Member states failed to reference women’s participation in political processes as leaders. The recent Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Burundi, S/2014/36, as well as the request of the Government of Burundi, the Council adopted this Resolution dated 13 February 2014 (S/RES/2137) extending the mandate of the United Nations Office in Burundi (BNUB) through 31 December 2014, but requested the Secretary-General to prepare the Office’s transition and its transfer of responsibilities to the United Nations Country Team by the same date.
There were several references to women, peace and security concerns in this resolution. The Council encouraged the Government of Burundi to continue its efforts regarding the promotion and protection of human rights, with a special focus on the rights of women, among others (para. 8); called upon the Government to ensure the full and effective participation of women at all stages of the electoral process (para. 11); and urgedurgeed international partners and the BNUB to continue supporting Burundi’s efforts in security sector reform, including through vetting for human rights violations and training on human rights and sexual and gender-based violence (para. 18). The preamble also recalled the seven thematic resolutions on women, peace and security.
Although the resolution did have direct substantive attention to women, peace and security within its operative section, and addressed both women’s protection and participation needs, there were nonetheless a number of areas where women, peace and security could have been more effectively mainstreamed. First, the Council called for women’s full and effective participation in all stages of the electoral process, which wasis encouraging, but women should also have meaningful participatory roles in other areas of public life, including in the economic and social spheres, as well as in the political sector beyond elections. Critically, women should be fully engaged as equal members in any constitutional review process. Further, as stressed in the Report of the Secretary-General, S/2014/36, there continues to be impunity for human rights violations in Burundi, including for acts of sexual violence and rape. Positively, this resolution called for training in sexual and gender-based violence to help professionalize the security sector, and it also emphasized the need for improved investigations, protection (including witness protection) and accountability systems, but it did not stress the particular need to bring a gender lens to these initiatives, including in regards to sexual and gender-based violence.
This resolution partially responded to the most recent MAP on the situation in Burundi (Jan 2014), as it touched upon many of the recommended areas (e.g. participation and inclusion, human rights monitoring and justice, transitional justice including calls for the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission). However, few of the recommendations were met in their particular attention to women, peace and security. In other words, women’s participation is called for, but only in respect to electoral processes, not constitution-drafting or dialogue between the government and opposition; and human rights protection and impunity were addressed, but not in terms of justice for survivors of sexual violence.
The previous resolution on Burundi, S/RES/2090 (2013), utilized very similar language on the promotion and protection of human rights with a special focus on women and children, as well as on the professionalization of the national security services and police through (among other things) training on sexual and gender-based violence. The two resolutions differed on women, peace and security in that the current resolution highlighted the need to ensure the full and effective participation of women at all stages of the electoral process (although the previous resolution does call upon the inclusion of civil society in that regard), whereas the previous resolution also placed emphasis on the socioeconomic development of women and youth (not mentioned in the current resolution).