Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations operation in Cyprus (S/2016/11).

Wednesday, January 6, 2016
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Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations operation in Cyprus (S/2016/11).

Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations operation in Cyprus (S/2016/11).

Code: S/2016/11

Date: 6 January 2016

Period of Time and Topic: Covering the period from June 21 to 18 December 2015, this report provides information on the implementation of the mandate and activities of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).


Women, Peace and Security

Pursuant to Resolution 2234 (2015), the report of the provides an update on the implementation of the UNFICYP mandate. WPS references have slightly increased since the previous report (S/2015/17), both in terms of their number (from five to six references) and scope. References to WPS continue to focus on civil society participation in the peace process, with the Secretary-General advocating for the participation of civil society in his Observation section.[1] The report does not offer any gender analysis and/or data on women in disarmament and political activities, humanitarian assistance and/or missing persons. The increase in this report's references is attributed to the inclusion of a section on “Conduct and Discipline for Sexual Exploitation and Abuse,”[2] which details measures taken in the mission to ensure compliance with the Secretary-General’s zero tolerance policy for sexual exploitation and abuse. Overall, the Secretary-General report is gender blind, missing key opportunities to identify women’s protection and participation concerns throughout the report.


Demining Activities/Maintenance of Military Status Quo

The report limits discussion of UNFICYP’s activities related to mining and maintaining the buffer zone to a technical overview, which, although it provides the core information related to the ways in which the mission is implementing those mandate components, misses an opportunity to provide any context or analysis on demining activities in Cyprus and does not provide any information the support of women in carrying out mine clearance missions.[3] Also, without sex-disaggregated data on civilian casualties or injuries resulting from mines, it is also unclear how women are affected by their presence.


Restoration of Normal Conditions and Humanitarian Functions

The report provides two references to “civil society,” both of which relate to the restoration of normal conditions. To foster bicommunal cooperation and reconciliation, UNFICYP is cited with supporting 37 “sporting, cultural, educational and other civil society events, which more than 2500 individuals from both communities participated.”[4] In addition, to support broad political settlement, UNDO continued to facilitate Cyprus dialogue forum, bringing together 94 organizations, including civil society organizations, to build consensus on essential socioeconomic issues related to settlement.[5] However, the report misses an opportunity to provide any information on the outcome of these engagements with civil society. In addition, these initiatives only represent a few out of a significant number to restore “normal conditions.” UNFICYP is mandated to “increase the participation of civil society in the process.”[6] As such, the report fails to provide sufficient information on this aspect of its mandate.


The report also misses an opportunity to provide a view of the gender dimensions of the humanitarian situation or how gender-specific needs are being taken into account in the distribution of aid. At a minimum, the report should provide sex-disaggregated data on persons with acquired permits,[7] vulnerable Greek Cypriots and Maronites,[8] detentions[9] and missing persons.[10]


Political Process

The report misses an opportunity to provide any information on women in political and peace processes, and/or discuss how gender-specific needs are being taken into account by the leaders of these processes. At a minimum, the report should advocate for women’s and civil society’s participation in talks between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders on peace processes.



The report also details incidents of sexual exploitation, as well as measures to prevent and discipline UNFICYP personnel. Between 1 January and 11 December 2015, the report notes that a single category 1 allegation and one category 2 allegation were reported and referred for investigation; however, the category 1 allegation, related to sexual exploitation and abuse, was unsubstantiated.[11]  In addition, the report notes that the total number of allegations for 2015 is less than that for 2014, for which a total number of 14 allegations were reported.[12]


To mitigate and combat the issues of sexual exploitation and abuse, the report outlines a number of activities by the mission. The UNFICYP Conduct and Discipline and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Working Group continued to monitor, on a quarterly basis, compliance with the sexual exploitation and abuse plan of action adopted by the mission.[13] In addition, the report notes that the mission appointed a sexual exploitation and abuse focal point to coordinate and monitor activities related to the prevention, enforcement and remediation of sexual exploitation and abuse.[14] In instances of reported abuse, the mission also appointed an “immediate response team to gather and preserve evidence upon receipt of an allegation of sexual exploitation and abuse.”[15] Further, during the reporting period, a total of 17 trainings sessions related to SEA were conducted, in which 553 military personnel, 17 United Nations police personnel and 117 civilian personnel participated.[16]


Ideal Asks

Future reports should advocate for the full participation of women at all levels of decision-making, especially in the context of resumed political dialogue between Greek and Cypriot leadership, and provide detailed information on the gender-dimensions of political outcomes. It is critical that reports mainstream gender as a cross-cutting issue, at a minimum providing sex-disaggregated data on humanitarian assistance, missing persons and buffer zone permits. Reports should further provide information on the outcomes and participation levels, including women, on all civil society engagements to restore normal conditions between the two sides. UNFICYP should systematically engage women’s civil society as consultants and participants in all mission efforts and report on the outcome of such engagement. Finally, the report’s discussion of sexual exploitation and abuse should be continued and used as an example for other missions going forward.



[1] S/2016/11 para. 51

[2] S/2016/11 para. 36-38

[3] S/2016/11 para. 10-14

[4] S/2016/11 para. 27

[5] S/2016/11 para. 31

[6] S/RES/2234 (2015), Op. 3 (d)

[7] S/2016/11 para. 20

[8] S/2016/11 para. 23

[9] S/2016/11 para. 25

[10] S/2016/11 para. 39

[11] S/2016/11 para. 37

[12] S/2016/11 para. 37

[13] S/2016/11 para. 36

[14] S/2016/11 para. 36

[15] S/2016/11 para. 36

[16] S/2016/11 para. 38