The Special Report of the Secretary-General on the review of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) (S/2014/138) was submitted to the Security Council on 25 February 2014.
The special report of the Secretary-General on the review of the UNAMID (S/2014/138), expressed regret that there was still no comprehensive political settlement to the Darfur crisis and intercommunal conflicts have intensified, with continued violence against civilians and obstruction to humanitarian space including attacks against UNAMID. A joint assessment team composed of representatives from the African Union Commission, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department Field Support of the Secretariat, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Food Programme, UNAMID, and the United Nations country team in Sudan undertook a review of the situation in Darfur and operations of UNAMID. The review had three phases: an update of analysis on the causes driving and effects of the conflict; evaluation of the mission’s existing capacities and strategies; and review of the strategic priorities of UNAMID with developed recommendations to address main challenges to the implementation of the mandate. UNAMID faced serious challenges including, in cooperation and partnership with the government regarding mandate implementation, major shortfalls in several troop and police-contingent capabilities; and the need for improved coordination and integration structures within the Mission and between the Mission and the United Nations country team. The report highlighted how these serious challenges constrain mission’s operational effectiveness.
The report applied a gender lens in regards to discussing violence against civilians, noting crimes that sexual and gender-based violence continue against civilians took, “place within an overall climate of impunity.” Related, when discussing UNAMID’s civilian protection role, the missions work on preventing and responding to sexual and gender-based violence and protection of human rights was explicitly articulated.
Women, peace and security concerns were also articulated in the proposed adjustment benchmarks in the annex of the report. Benchmark 1 called for an inclusive peace process based on the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, and women’s participation was explicitly mentioned. Benchmark 2 called for the protection of civilians and unhindered humanitarian access, and explicitly called for the protection of women and children; a reduction in human rights violations, including sexual and gender-based violence; and for all parties to conflict to combat all forms of sexual violence against women, men and children. Lastly, Benchmark 3, although not gender-specific, called for local grassroots inclusion in all conflict resolution and transitional justice mechanism and explicitly called for access to truth, justice and reconciliation for victims.
Although, the report emphasized several key women, peace and security concerns, the report could have better incorporated a gender lens in several areas. In regards to women’s human rights protection, the report could have improved by explicitly emphasizing the gender-specific needs of women in the access and delivery of humanitarian aid, particularly for services for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence and consideration for the specific challenges faced by female IDPs. In regards to women’s inclusion and participation, the report could have been strengthened by explicitly mentioning women’s participation in UNAMID’s work supporting local dispute resolution and DDR processes.
In comparison to the January 2014 MAP, the report’s record was inadequate. The MAP called for numerous points including, continuing good practice of providing sex-disaggregated data; support for gender advisors; all parties to conflict to protect civilians, including women and children from violations including sexual and gender-based violence; incorporating a gender lens when assisting the growing number of internally displaced persons; and reporting on progress made in creating and implementing a strategy to protect women and girls from sexual and gender-based violence. On human rights protection concerns, the report failed to provide sex-disaggregated data and discuss the important role of gender advisors. Additionally, a gender lens when discussing the growing number of displaced persons was absent and the Council did not request the SG to report on progress made in creating and implementing a strategy to protect women and girls of SGBV. On a positive note, the council did explicitly call for all parties to protect civilians, notably women and children, from human rights violations, including sexual and gender-based violence, in the report and benchmarks.
A Special Report is unique, however previous reports on the situation in Darfur failed to mention women’s participation in a political solution to the conflict. Thus, the explicit mention of women’s participation in the peace process in the benchmarks was a significant improvement. The report, however, failed to provide sex-disaggregated data, which was prevalent in past reports.