Somalia (S/2013/709)

Monday, December 2, 2013
Report Analysis: 

Pursuant to resolution 2102 (2013), report S/2013/709 (2 December 2013) covered the implementation of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) mandate. Moreover, the report provided information on the steps taken to ensure the presence of a structurally integrated mission by 1 January 2014, included an assessment of the political and security implications of wider UN deployments across Somalia, and covered major developments over the period from 16 August to 15 November. Key updates included the convening of a national conference called “Vision 2016;” the agreement with Ahmed Madobe; the creation of  the Juba Interim Administration; the tensions between the federal government and Puntland; the relatively unstable security situation, with attacks carried out by Al-Shabaab,including against the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya; and UN assistance in the form of the UN-AU joint mission to Somalia. Additionally, the report provided updates on the support towards the development of: a federal system and constitutional review, security sector reform, rule of law, human rights,  protection, humanitarian assistance, socio-economic recovery and development, targeted sanctions, and logistical support to the African Union Mission in Somalia. The Secretary-General also addressed the expansion of the UN presence in Somalia.

This Secretary-General report on Somalia evidenced a multifaceted approach to women, peace and security, including references to women’s empowerment, women’s protection and gender mainstreaming.

Regarding women’s full participation and representation, the Secretary-General highlighted that women’s participation in national, regional and local politics, and reconciliation processes was critical to achieving peace in Somalia (para.51). Within the report the UN Gender Theme Group and UNSOM Political and Mediation Group began to identify key entry points for women’s participation in national political processes and decision-making, especially in the context of State formation (para.52). The report, also, highlighted that the SRSG urged Puntland elders to ensure the selection of a significant number of women members of Parliament in upcoming elections (para.22).  Also, the Secretary-General provided information regarding the federal government naming its first female Governor of the Central Bank, although she tendered her resignation seven weeks later amid allegations that she was pressured to perpetrate financial malpractice (para.68). In his concluding observations, the Secretary-General stressed that women’s full representation and participation were critical to achieving sustainable peace and development, and called upon the federal government to ensure the protection of human rights of women and promotion of these rights in all strategies, policies, and laws (para.103).

The report also devoted significant attention to women’s protection concerns, including: the forced evictions of internally displaced persons from Mogadishu to other settlements without prior planning, thereby increasing their vulnerability to human rights abuses such as sexual violence (para.46); the government’s limited ability and capacity to end violence against women and children, with widespread cases of documented rape throughout the country (para.53); and serious concerns about the way investigations had been conducted in the case of an alleged gang rape of a 19-year old woman by AMISOM soldiers (para.54). Other women’s protection concerns included  239 cases of reported rape in the months of September and October in Somaliland, with most survivors in central and southern Somalia being displaced women and girls (para.56).  Encouragingly, however, the Secretary-General also noted that: the UNDP trained police officers in Puntland on handling cases of sexual violence in a manner sensitive to gender-based violence (para. 53); UNICEF and UNDP developed a training manual for the police on prevention and response, including investigation, of gender-based violence and child protection cases (para.53); the task force on the relocation of IDPs worked on training police officers on gender-based violence and child protection (para.53); and the federal government’s requested that UNICEF assist it to develop a sexual violence act and a gender-based violence protocol to enhance government accountability on sexual violence (para.55). The Secretary-General also offered sex-disaggregated data on children formerly associated with armed forces or groups and children with other vulnerabilities, and on the benefits accrued  from reintegration programs, school enrollment and vocational trainings (para.48).

Finally, the report addressed gender mainstreaming activities, including the integration of gender-specific provisions in all the peacebuilding and statebuilding goals of the “New Deal” compact. Furthermore, the report addressed the integration of gender-specific provisions in comprehensive process that went underway to develop a national gender policy and the National Action Plan on resolution 1325 (2000) with the federal government (para.51).

Although there were considerable references to women, peace and security concerns in this report, there were still opportunities for greater inclusion of the women, peace and security agenda. In particular, while the report addressed the need for women’s participation generally, it could have placed more emphasis on the inclusion of women in the constitutional review and 2016 electoral processes specifically. Additionally, the report should have incorporated women and a thorough gender analysis into SSR and DDR processes. Although, it is an encouraging development that trainings of police officers in gender-sensitive approaches to violence against women and girls have been implemented. Furthermore, the report brought attention to widespread cases of rape and sexual violence, but failed to send an unequivocal message to perpetrators, law enforcement officials, and peacekeepers that sexual violence and other forms of gender-based violence, would not be tolerated.

The Secretary-General report partially responded to the most recent MAP on Somalia (December 2013), by focusing on the promotion of women’s full participation in political and reconciliation processes as a critical factor to sustainable peace in the country. However, although the report did devote significant attention to women’s protection concerns, including the risk of sexual and gender-based violence, it did not effectively send the message that sexual violence and exploitation would not be tolerated.

From the previous report on the situation in Somalia and the operations of UNSOM, S/2013/521, there was great improvement in the women, peace and security content. Report S/2013/709 discussed not only the widespread nature of sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls in the country, especially displaced women and girls but also added a number of references to gender mainstreaming and the importance of women’s empowerment. These references focused especially on women’s  participation in national, regional and local politics and reconciliation processes.

Introducing the latest report of the Secretary-General, S/2013/709, Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) Mr. Nicholas Kay, briefed the Security Council on the situation in Somalia on 10 December 2013 (S/PV.7078). The briefing provided information on reinforcements to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Somali National Army as per SCR 2124 (2013); coordination between UNSOM and AMISOM; preparations for offensive operations against Al-Shabaab; and political challenges in reconciliation, federalization, constitution-drafting, and elections in 2016. The SRSG, also, briefed the Council on the removal by Parliament of the Prime Minister and resignation of the Central Bank Governor; the mishandling of cases of rape and sexual violence; the suspension of  formal relations between Puntland and the federal government; and Somaliland’s rejection of UNSOM’s mandate. Lastly, the report also informed the Council as to the SSR and DDR processes; humanitarian response to natural disasters and food insecurity; and the consolidation of UNSOM as an integrated mission on January 1 2014.

The SRSG made several references to women, peace and security in his remarks, highlighting the handling of alleged rape and sexual violence cases as a cause for concern despite the commitment of the President and government to due process and the need for women’s full representation and participation in local, regional and national decision-making processes. Also, the SRSG referenced the celebration in Mogadishu of the Open Day on women, peace and security, where forty women’s representatives from across Somalia presented a statement to the President on their concerns and engaged in an open debate with him.

Although the SRSG’s references to women, peace and security were noteworthy, they were nevertheless brief and confined to one section of his remarks. Therefore unlike the Secretary-General Report laying the foundation for this briefing, S/2013/709, the SRSG missed the opportunity to include more cross-cutting attention to the women, peace and security agenda across the length of his presentation. Further, he neglected to address the gendered consequences of a new offensive operation against Al-Shabaab by a reinforced AMISOM and Somali National Army; or the ways that women should be involved in, and were affected by, SSR and DDR processes; or the gender-specific needs of women and girls affected by natural disasters and food insecurity.

The briefing broadly touched upon recommendations made in the most recent MAP on Somalia (December 2013), by promoting women’s full representation and participation in local, regional and national decision-making processes, and by expressing concern about the handling of alleged rape and sexual violence cases. But there were no specific references to women’s participation in the constitutional review process, in dialogues with Somali regional actors on the federal system, in the implementation of the Somali Compact, or in the efforts to find a political solution to the armed violence. Besides the concern noted by the SRSG regarding the handling of alleged rape and sexual violence cases, there was no mention of UNSOM’s work in helping to prevent, monitor, investigate, and report on abuses and violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Neither did the SRSG show much urgency to the calls for women’s and children’s protection from sexual violence and exploitation.

Although there have been several briefings on Somalia (S/PV.7061 on anti-piracy, S/PV.7056 on AMISOM, and S/PV.7054 on the joint AU-UN assessment mission of AMISOM), the most relevant and corresponding briefing on the work of UNSOM was S/PV.7030. In contrast to that briefing, the 7078th meeting (10 December 2013) was more encouraging, as the 7030th meeting (12 September 2013) focused almost exclusively on sexual violence. The 7078th meeting (10 December 2013), on the other hand, made several significant references to women’s full representation and participation. However, while both briefings acknowledged the problem of sexual violence in Somalia, the 7030th meeting (12 September 2013) called for much more robust systems of investigation and prosecution, including protection of survivors and witnesses, whereas the the 7078th briefing (10 December 2013) only noted the problem as a cause for concern.

Covering the period from 1 January to 31 December 2013, this report, issued by the Secretary General on 31 December 2013 (S/2013/791), was pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009). Largely concerned with the arms embargo implemented by prior resolutions (S/RES/733) (S/RES/1907), report S/2013/791 (31 December 2013) focused on the actions of the Committee established to oversee the implementation of the embargo. These actions consisted of freezing assets of individuals suspected of inciting violence and terrorism, banning the sale and supply of arms from Eritrea, banning the travel of suspected individuals, and banning the direct or indirect import of charcoal from Somalia as it is a main source of funds for Al-Shabaab. In addition to overseeing these actions, the committee was coordinating with the Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, the Monitoring Group, the government of Somalia, and the government of Eritrea. Overall, the Secretary General mostly placed focus on the small arms light weapons trafficking and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, and security sector reform in Somalia and the surrounding region.

Women, peace and security concerns are insubstantially referenced only once in regards to civilian-directed violence. In addition to the previously delineated selection criteria followed by the Committee to identify individuals responsible for violence and terrorism, the Council added that the Committee should “identify those responsible for violations of international law involving the targeting of civilians, including children and women” (para.5). Women should not be conflated with children as the number and type of violations differ widely between the two groups. Furthermore, the report made no mention of either the Council calling or not calling for the Committee to provide sex-desegregated and adult specific data in their assessment of individuals responsible. Thus it can be inferred that the Council does not want to place importance on those individuals responsible for specifically women’s rights violations.

The  report was absent of gender specific information regarding SALW, DDR, and SSR. No sex-disaggregated information was provided in relations to the impact of SALW, information on gender-specific service provision, nor regarding women’s participation in the trafficking of weapons. No reporting has been done on the collection of information regarding gender-specific services for female-combatants or female dependents. In the report’s discussion of SSR, the Committee requested the federal government of Somalia to report on the structure, infrastructure, procedures and codes. The report should provide information as to whether the Committee requested a report on gender-sensitive training for combatants, facilities afforded to female combatants, and procedures relevant to female combatants and weapons control.

Regarding humanitarian assistance, the report missed a key opportunity to provide information on women’s protection and empowerment concerns within humanitarian assistance. While the Security Council Committee did report that they requested the United Nations Aid Coordinator for Somalia to report every 120 days on any impediments to the delivery of humanitarian assistance (para.8), however there was no reference to any impediments to the delivery of gender-specific humanitarian services. The inclusion of information on the provision and access of these gender-specific services is critical to ensuring that the promotion and protection concerns of women are respected.

This report focused on the Committee and its action to impose the arms embargo established by the Security Council in S/RES/751. While the MAP recommendation of December 2013 did not reference Sanction Committee Documents, the issues it raised are still relevant. The MAP urged the Security Council to promote women’s full participation in the constitutional review process, in dialogues with Somali regional actors on the federal system, in the implementation of the Somali Compact, and in all efforts to find a political solution to the ongoing armed violence[1]. Moreover the MAP recommended that the Security Council call for the prevention, monitoring, investigation, and reporting on abuses and violations of human rights[2]

The previous report provided information on the actions of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 751 (S/RES/751). Similar to the previous report, this report failed to include any substantial women, peace and security concerns.

PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence
Security Council Agenda Geographical Topic: 
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