Having considered the recent SG Report on the situation concerning Western Sahara, S/2014/258, SCR dated 29 April 2014 (S/RES/2152)renews the mandate for
the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).
There was one reference to women, peace and security concerns in this resolution, and that is with regards to the UN zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation
and abuse. In that regard, the Council also called for troop-contributing countries to take preventive action including predeployment awareness training, and other
action to ensure full accountability in cases of such conduct involving their personnel.
Although it is encouraging that the Council continues to advocate its zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse in this case, it missed many opportunities
to acknowledge women’s rights beyond the context of MINURSO, including: the potential for women to play a greater role as mediators and peacebuilders; the
importance of engaging Saharan women as key actors in determining how to move the situation forward in the Territory and the camps; and the necessity for greater
attention to be given to women’s human rights protection and assistance needs.
This resolution is largely unresponsive to the most recent MAP on the situation concerning Western Sahara (April 2014), as the primary recommendation stated that
any new resolution should include a human rights monitoring and reporting presence both in Western Sahara and in the refugee camps near Tindouf, Algeria, which
this Resolution does not include. The only attention to human rights is situated in the preamble, with the operative section only calling for full cooperation with
MINURSO operations including “its free interaction will all interlocutors.”
As with the current Resolution, the previous Resolution, S/RES/2099 (2013), also had one reference to women peace and security concerns, with precisely the same
language on sexual exploitation and abuse.