Topic: This report by the Secretary-General is on the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), covering the time period between 25 September 2015 and 15 December 2015.
Women, Peace and Security
The Secretary-General’s report gives account on major developments in Darfur, including updates on the current conflict dynamics, the political, security and humanitarian situation and the mandate implementation of UNAMID. While it expresses concern with the grave security and humanitarian situation for civilians, particularly those affected by internal displacement, it does not apply a gender lens to consider whether and how women are affected differently. The report does not include any specific references to the WPS agenda, such as mentions of WPS resolutions, and only sporadically reports on women’s human rights abuses, including conflict-related sexual violence. The rare mentions of women are thus solely in relation to the protection pillar of the WPS agenda. More specifically, the report accounts for incidents of rape in the proximity of IDP camps while women were pursuing farming activities and the consequent increase in patrols to respond to the security needs of women IDPs.
Another mention refers to the provision of UNAMID-led sessions on risk education about explosive remnants for 47, 167 civilians, including 8,411 women and 9,443 girls. In its considerations of the prevalence of SGBV, the report provides concrete numbers on two occasions, accounting for cases document by UNAMID and identifying rape as a common crime with 34 registered incidences during the reporting period. The report further states that Darfur has not seen a reduction in SGBV compared to the previous reporting period. The report also informs about UNAMID-led sensitization trainings for Sudanese police officers, including women officers, on human rights, community policing, and SGBV as well as English classes for IDPs, including women IDPs. Moreover, the report accounts for visits to detention centers to ensure the welfare of female detainee and their children and UNAMID-led sessions on gender mainstreaming for correction officers, including women officers, in a prison facility, “focusing on gender dimensions of prison management.” In addition, UNAMID was involved in facilitating a peace forum on inter-communal conflict, conflict resolution and mediation in joint efforts with Al Tagana Women Organization. Ultimately, the report informs about administrative challenges regarding the issuance of visas, which means that positions including the Senior Women Protection Advisor remain vacant.
References in Need of Improvement and Missed Opportunities
Reporting on women’s concerns in accordance with the WPS agenda could have been stronger in several instances.
Political Participation/Conflict resolution
The report would have been much stronger if it had focused more strongly on women’s participation in the ongoing political dialogue to gain gender-balanced perspectives on the issues at stake, including ceasefire and security arrangements. Given that there is no reporting on women’s participation in neither the six committees of national dialogue nor in the High-level Implementation Panel between the Government, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) -North, and the Darfur armed movements, and given the reference to the parties’ disagreements about civil society participation, one can assume that their commitment to an inclusive peace process has yet to be fully realized. In view of the volatile security situation, women’s leadership and the participation of women’s civil society organizations in negotiations relating to security arrangements is of utmost importance to ensure the specific security concerns of women, men, girls, and boys are adequately addressed.
Further, there is no mention of women’s participation in UNAMID-led Darfur Internal Dialogue and Consultations, which included local-level meetings held throughout Darfur to discuss “the root causes of conflict in Darfur and […] possible solutions for long-term peace, security and development.”
Additionally, the section on land disputes and access to farmland would have highly benefited from gender-sensitive information, including whether women are particularly affected by disputes over land titles and by incidents of cattle-rustling. The report also missed to discuss women’s participation in the joint disarmament efforts by UNAMID, UN entities, and the Sudan Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration in order to identify whether women ex-combatants are specifically targeted and whether women’s civil society organizations are part of the design and implementation of DDR strategies to ensure that reintegration measures, including comprehensive psychosocial and trauma support as well as livelihood opportunities, are gender-sensitive.
Concludingly, one can assume an overall unawareness for the participation pillar and the centerpiece of the WPS agenda, i.e. recognizing women’s participation as fundamental for the success of all conflict resolution, peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts.
Protection of civilians
Reporting on the mission’s efforts to enhance crime prevention in IDP camps and establish integrated field protection teams to identify early-warning strategies, the report completely fails to mention whether women are trained to be part of these teams to ensure early-warning strategies are tailored to the specific security challenges of women. Additionally, sex-disaggregated data on the criminality statistics would have been desirable to assess whether women and girls, in addition to SGBV, were affected by assault/harassment and abductions.
Rule of Law
Accounting for UNAMID-led efforts to enhance the capacity of rule of law institutions, including training for newly recruited prison officers, rural court judges, and leaders in IDP camps, the report could have further detailed whether women were part of these trainings and whether the mission seeks to increase the number of female staff to ensure that law enforcement institutions are accessible and accountable to women, particularly to the claims of survivors of SGBV.
The report would have highly benefited from commenting on whether UNMISS or any of the UN agencies operating in Darfur, including the World Food Programme, had conducted gender-sensitive needs assessments to identify whether and how women, particularly those in IDP camps, are affected differently in order to effectively tailor humanitarian assistance to their needs. The report further fails to mention whether humanitarian assistance includes measures to specifically cater to women’s needs such as secure access to sanitation facilities as well as hygiene and health assistance, including reproductive health, family planning and maternal health services. Additionally, information on whether local civil society organizations, particularly women’s civil society, were consulted in the design and implementation of delivery mechanisms for humanitarian assistance would have been desirable. In its mention of the continuous challenges regarding humanitarian access, including visa denials for the elected Senior Women Protection Advisor, the report would have been stronger by additionally commenting on whether organizations working on women’s concerns, including reproductive health and family planning provisions, face additional challenges or restrictions.
Ideal Asks for WPS Transformation
Pursuant to resolutions 1769 (2007) on the mandate of UNAMID, particularly OP 55 (vi) on WPS; resolution 1828 (2008), OP 15; resolution 1881 (2009), OP 14; resolution 2003 (2011), OP 22; and resolution 2063 (2012), OP 15, future reports by the Secretary-General must reflect the Security Council’s commitment to the WPS agenda and provide updates on the implementation of gender-sensitive programming regarding both participation and security concerns. Applying a gender lens throughout the report will ensure that all genders are adequately represented and their particular needs in regards to the volatile security, political and humanitarian situation are being met.
 S/2015/1027, para. 11, 42
 S/2015/1027, para. 44
 S/2015/1027, para. 47
 S/2015/1027, para. 13
 S/2015/1027, para. 49
 S/2015/1027, para. 55
 S/2015/1027, para. 58
 S/2015/1027, para. 33
 S/2015/1027, para. 20
 S/2015/1027, para. 39
 S/2015/1027, para. 10
 S/2015/1027, para. 40
 S/2015/1027, para. 42, 43
 S/2015/1027, para. 13
 S/2015/1027, para. 52, 53