The Security Council’s 7206th meeting on 24 June 2014 (S/PV.7206) focused on the situation in the Central African Republic, and it included a briefing by the Secretary-General’s representative and UN Women’s Executive Director on the situation in the CAR as they prepared for the transfer of authority from MISCA to MINUSCA on 15 September 2014.
During this briefing, the Security Council heard from the representative of the Central African Republic, Ms. Marguerite Marie Maliavo-Samba; Minister for Public Health, Social Affairs, Gender and Humanitarian Action, Mr. Babacar Gaye Acting; Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic; and from Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.
This briefing was heavily focused on women, peace and security since the Executive Director of UN Women was present, and she brought the following issues to the Security Council’s attention: a visit to 17 civil society organizations and 16 women’s organizations; visibility to the plight of women and girls; promotion of women’s participation and leadership in local reconciliation, national dialogues, transitional justice and upcoming elections; reports of rape, sexual slavery and other violations; girls being frequently subjected to forced marriage; the need for medical and psychosocial support at IDP sites, 90 per cent of which lack services for survivors of gender-based violence; pregnant women not having access to basic reproductive and obstetric care; adequate support for refugees; women from all walks of life organizing to survive and prosper; the success of reconciliation initiatives, the upcoming elections and national recovery depending on women’s leadership and participation; women’s access to justice and holding perpetrators accountable; provision of dedicated gender-crime investigators; deployment of gender and women’s protection advisers must be strengthened; the need for more women in the Mission’s military, police and civilian components; the specialized pre-deployment training on preventing sexual violence; inclusion of women in emergency employment programmes; destination of 15 per cent or more of funding for women’s empowerment and gender equality; response to the urgent needs of women and girls in refugee sites; representation of women in all processes that deal with peacemaking, peacebuilding and reconciliation, that election preparations place women’s representation and participation at their centre; empowered women as best buffer against the radicalization of youth and the repetition of cycles of violence; awareness of women around the world about the Security Council’s decisions on women and peace and security and its significant promises, most recently in resolutions 2122 (2013) and 2149 (2014).
Ms. Maliavo-Samba also touched on some women, peace and security issues such as the current security crisis that the CAR is facing and how in order to guarantee the rights of everyone, including women, who are the main victims of the crisis, they require a national army and the removal of the embargo that they are under. She also mentioned the need to bring to justice the criminals who continue to practice sexism, rape and kill.
Although this briefing included many and highly relevant mentions of the women, peace and security agenda, the Secretary-General’s representative failed to demonstrate a gender perspective throughout his briefing, in particular he did not always provide sex-disaggregated data on civilians being attacked or killed and did not have a gender lens when discussing the Muslim communities that are left in Bangui or the displaced population and those in need of humanitarian assistance. Finally, he did not explicitly mention women when advocating for support for an inclusive negotiation process on disarmament including a dialogue process. In general, the briefing lacked a gender lens in regards to humanitarian needs and internally displaced persons or refugees, as well as the provision of humanitarian aid.
This briefing completely reflected the June 2014 MAP, which called on the Council to reinforce the need to fully resource and implement the mandate of the UN mission in CAR (MINUSCA), including its provisions for protection of civilians and support for the transition process, which includes assisting the Transitional Authorities in ensuring women’s full and effective participation in all mediation, reconciliation, national dialogue, transitional justice and electoral processes (SCR 2149, OP. 30(a)(b)(e)). The MAP also called on the Council to insist on accountability for atrocities committed by all armed groups and security forces operating in the country and reinforce efforts to ensure justice systems are re-established, with investigations and prosecutions conducted according to international standards.
In comparison with the previous meeting S/PV.7153 during which resolution 2149 was adopted, this briefing reflected an important improvement since it finally addressed women, peace and security issues when in the past meetings, the Council failed to address any women, peace and security concerns, however, it is important to note that this was due to the presence of the UN Women Executive Director.