After a joint African Union-United Nations mission to establish benchmarks for the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation and assess the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), the Secretary-General submitted letter S/2013/606 (14 October 2013) to the President of the Security Council. This letter contained the mission’s findings about the current security situation in Somalia, the identification of benchmarks needed to be achieved before the authorization of the UN peacekeeping operation in Somalia, the call for an enhancement of the Somali National Army, the resumption of AMISOM efforts to strengthen the military campaign against Al-Shabaab in the short-term, the need for military advances to be accompanied by progress in the political and human rights arena, and the Secretary-General’s recommendations for improving the security of UN personnel.
There was only one mention of women, peace and security in the Secretary-General’s letter, and that was with regards to the deteriorated security situation in Somalia and the deaths of many innocent civilians, including women and children.
The Secretary-General’s letter missed the opportunity to incorporate a gender analysis into his assessment of the security situation in Somalia. It therefore made no reference to civil society or women’s groups during the Joint AU-UN mission, to the potential gender-specific impacts of enhancing the military force of AMISOM and the Somali National Army, nor to gender considerations within the broader security sector reform, to zero tolerance and accountability for the misconduct which occurred including sexual exploitation and abuse, with the exception of a more general reference to the human rights due diligence policy. Moreover, the letter missed the opportunity to reference the importance of efforts on behalf of women and girls in the accompanying promotion and protection of human rights.
In comparison to the September 2013 MAP, the Secretary-General’s letter offered little women, peace and security references. The letter did acknowledge the importance of the promotion and protection of human rights alongside a reconfigured AMISOM and Somali National Army. However, the letter did not make any specific mention of women’s rights, nor did it call for increased capacity and resources to carry out gender mainstreaming across all areas of its operations.
Within the report dated 31 January 2013 (S/2013/69), the Secretary-General included recommendations for a reconfigured UN presence in Somalia which afforded greater attention to the women, peace and security agenda. This greater attention to the women, peace and security agenda included: women’s participation and representation in political life, cases of sexual and gender-based violence upon women and girls especially those internally displaced, and training of female police recruits in Somaliland. However, report S/2013/69 was a more comprehensive review of the broader situation in Somalia, and so it was difficult to compare it to the shorter and more focused letter of 14 October 2013. Though, when the letter was viewed alongside this prior report’s section on options for a future UN presence in Somalia, there was similarly limited references to women, peace and security. But in recommending an interim special political mission, the previous report did recognize that the special political mission’s mandate should have included not only an emphasis on human rights, but references specifically on sexual and gender-based violence.
Pursuant to resolution 2077 (2012), report S/2013/623 (21 October 2013) covered major developments related to piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia since the last Secretary-General report dated 22 October 2012 (S/2012/783). The report highlighted a sharp decline in pirate attacks and hijackings, and attributed that decline to a number of measures including: improved international and regional cooperation; targeted actions by the international naval presence; increased application of International Maritime Organization guidance and of the Best Management Practices for Protection against Somali-based Piracy; and prosecution of suspected pirates and imprisonment of those convicted. The report also mentioned greater self-protection and situational awareness measures by commercial ships, including the use of privately contracted armed security personnel on board vessels and vessel protection detachments, as also contributing to the decrease in pirate attacks. The report went on to offer further updates on hostage release and support efforts; on the endeavours by Somalian contact group on counter-piracy, known as the ‘Kampala process’, and accompanying efforts undertaken by the federal government of Somalia; on international and regional cooperation; on legal issues including human rights considerations; on capacity-building, supporting piracy-related prosecutions, and to combat illicit financial flows; on allegations of illegal fishing and dumping; and on addressing the root causes of piracy off the coast of Somalia.
Although there was general attention paid to human rights, law enforcement, and the root causes of piracy off the coast of Somalia, there was no specific mention of women, peace and security concerns.
This report missed the opportunity to recognize the insecurity piracy creates for women. In particular, it failed to acknowledge the links between the root causes of piracy including the lack of legitimate employment opportunities, and the subsequent role piracy plays in intensifying the risk of sexual violence and trafficking. Further, despite the downward trend in pirate attacks in recent years, with more vessels hiring private armed security guards and the accompanying proliferation of piracy and private security-related arms, there remained a great potential for adverse consequences upon civilians, especially women.
As there was no reference to women, peace and security within this report, it did not address the recommendations in the October 2013 MAP. Therefore, there was no discussion of the negative impact of piracy on women, specifically in regards to socio-economic ramifications, the role piracy plays in fuelling crime, including trafficking of drugs, arms, and people, and the general insecurity created by the presence of piracy in the region.
Like report S/2013/623, the previous report dated 22 October 2012 (S/2012/783) offered no attention to Women, peace and security concerns.
Deputy Secretary-General Mr. Jan Eliasson, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the federal Republic of Somalia Ms. Fowsiyo Yusuf Haji Adan, briefed the Security Council on the situation in Somalia following the DSG’s visit to Mogadishu several days prior on 30 October 2013 (S/PV.7054). The briefing focused predominantly on the need for a temporary boost to AMISOM and Somali forces, based on the findings of the African Union-United Nations missions on security and the subsequent letter from the Secretary-General (S/2013/606), so as to maintain security and combat the evolving threat posed by Al-Shabaab. The DSG also touched on the safety of UN staff in Somalia,in relation to the 19 June attack, and recommended a UN guard unit be deployed until national forces could assume the responsibility. This reccomendation also called for correlating longer-term security-sector development and coinciding political, peacebuilding, and developmental efforts. Finally, referencing Secretary-General report S/2013/623 on piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia, the DSG acknowledged the need for more work to be done on addressing the underlying causes of piracy in Somalia, so as to sustain security gains.
There was no mention of women, peace and security concerns, other than general references to civil society and human rights.
The briefing missed the opportunity to acknowledge and address the myriad ways that women, peace and security concerns are implicated by the evolving security situation in Somalia. It offered no mention of women’s role in conflict resolution and peacebuilding efforts, nor of the impact of a changing security situation upon women’s protection needs. The briefers also failed to recognize the insecurity piracy created for women, with the root causes including the lack of legitimate employment opportunities, and the subsequent role piracy plays in intensifying the risk of sexual violence and trafficking.
In contrast to the October 2013 MAP, the briefing was largely silent: on women’s rights as a key component of any reconfigured UN-AU presence; on the mission’s civilian component having the capacity and resources to carry out gender mainstreaming across all areas of its operations; and on the negative impact of piracy on women.
The previous briefing on the situation in Somalia, S/PV.7030, offered greater attention to women, peace and security concerns, referencing the importance of gender equality, AMISOM’s zero tolerance policy, and the serious and urgent human rights challenge posed by sexual violence.