Friday, April 17, 2015
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence
Human Rights
Security Council Agenda Geographical Topic: 
Document PDF: 

Implementation of Security Council resolutions 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014) and 2191 (2014) (Report covers the conflict from 1 to 31 March 2015)


Period of Time and Topic: Report covers the conflict from 1 to 31 March 2015

Women, Peace and Security

In the Secretary General’s report on the conflict in Syria, pursuant to resolutions 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014), and 2191 (2014) the Secretary-General details ongoing violence, human rights issues, and barriers to humanitarian access. The report significantly digresses from prior reports in its references to women. While prior reports appeared to be steadily improving in the provision of sex disaggregated data, particularly in reference to civilian casualties, this report does not provide any sex disaggregated data. The only explicit reference to women in the entire report is in regards to UNFPA’s delivery of “reproductive health and gender-based violence services to 57,000 women.”[1] In the observation section, the Secretary-General does provide a generic reflection on the situation, noting “day after day we see more men, women and children killed.” Although not amounting sex disaggregated data, this is an  important acknowledgment of the fact that women too are dying in this conflict.

References in Need of Improvement

All data regarding civilian casualties, provision aid, delivery of services, arbitrary arrests, detentions, and torture should be disaggregated by gender wherever this information is available, and when unavailable, should be sought out. It is clear from prior reports that it is possible to obtain sex disaggregated data, in so far as reporting on civilian casualties. In general, when reporting on political and military developments, human rights, and humanitarian assistance, there are certainly gendered impacts and information on gender impacts should be sought out and highlighted in all references for those categories.

Missed Opportunities

Overall, the report misses the opportunity to provide a gender analysis of the ongoing conflict, and to uphold its commitments under resolutions 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014) and 2191 (2014). These resolutions at a minimum condemn sexual and gender-based violence and call for an inclusive political solution. In reporting on negotiations between the Government and Yarmouk camp delegations on a local agreement, the Secretary-General missed the opportunity to include the role of women in these negotiations, the impact of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Al Nusra Front (ANF) infiltration on women in the camp, including in abductions and executions, and the opportunity to advocate for increased women’s participation in negotiations. In discussing another local agreement in Waer, which eventually fell through, the report missed the opportunity to identify women’s participation in the negotiations, or to at least note the absence of women. The report notes that consultations between the Government and representative of the opposition on the implementation of the Aleppo freeze are “currently inconclusive”.[2] This is another missed opportunity to report on, and potentially call for, women’s participation in these crucial negotiations.

As in prior reports, this report would also be strengthened by a gendered analysis of the impact of siege tactics on civilians, which may amount to war crimes, or crimes against humanity. The report also misses the opportunity to report on women’s experience of “arbitrary detention, torture and death in custody inside Government detention centres run by Syrian security forces”.[3] As the report is written now, it provides no information on whether women are being detained, and if so, whether or not women are detained at a similar rate to men. The Secretary-General does note “600 families have identified their dead relatives, the majority of whom had been detained since 2012 and 2013 by various Syrian Government security branches.”[4] This would have been an ideal opportunity to provide sex disaggregated data on those being killed in detention.

Ideal Asks for WPS Transformation

The report should include explicit references to and analysis of all gendered concerns within the ongoing conflict in Syria. At a minimum the report should provide sex disaggregated data on those impacted by the conflict. The report should substantively engage with women and women’s organizations in order to better understand the impact of the conflict on women, from all sides. This includes information on women’s participation in conflict resolution and peace processes, and women’s experiences being targeted for expressing political dissent. In doing so, the report will also pave the way for the Council to better incorporate gender concerns in any forthcoming calls to actions.


[1] S/2015/264 para 43.

[2] S/2015/264 para 25.

[3] S/2015/264 para 26.

[4] S/2015/264 para 27.