Date: 31 March 2016
Topic: Covering the period 9 December 2015 to 31 March 2016, the report provides an update on the implementation of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) mandate and proposals for further downsizing and possible termination of UNOCI.
Women, Peace and Security (WPS)
Pursuant to Security Council resolution 2226 (2015), the Secretary-General report provides an update on major developments in Côte d’Ivoire and an update on the implementation of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), as well as presents the major findings of a multidisciplinary strategic review mission led by the UN Department for Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO). References to WPS issues have significantly decreased when compared with the previous report (S/2015/940), both in terms of quantity (from 21 to 8 references) and scope. References to women focus on the protection aspects of the WPS agenda, a notable change from the last report (S/2015/940), which was more balanced between women’s protection and participation. In addition, the “Observation” section of the report makes only one reference to WPS issues, in which the Secretary-General reiterates concern over “persistent human rights violations, including sexual and gender-based violence.” marking a decrease from three references in the “Observation” section of the previous report (S/2015/940). Unfortunately, there are several WPS issues highlighted in the mandate for which the report fails to provide sufficient information or analysis. The report also does not offer any analysis on the gender dynamics of the conflict itself, and overall, despite positive new inclusions, the report is largely gender blind, missing key opportunities to identify women’s participation, particularly in in demilitarization and arms management, justice and reconciliation, political process and elections. Moreover, in the previous report of the Secretary-General (S/2015/940), there was a notable call for inclusive economic development efforts to particularly benefit women; however, this reference is removed from the current report.
References in Need of Improvement and Missed Opportunities
Protection of Civilians
The report does not provide any gender analysis of the impact of the conflict and makes no references to women within the security sector. However, the report cites “incidents of sexual violence, including the rape of children.”but does not provide any information on the investigation or prosecution of such acts. Although there are multiple security incidents cited in the report, attacks targeting civilians in Grand-Bassam and FRCI crackdowns against protesters, which resulted in civilian deaths, the report misses an opportunity to provide any sex or age disaggregated data on civilian casualties or any other statistical point within the security sector. As such, the situation for the protection of women is largely unknown from the report.  Overall, the report misses an opportunity to incorporate women’s security concerns into the larger framework of protection of civilians and fails to call for a gender-responsive protection, as mandated by Security Council resolution 2226 (2015)..
Security Sector Reform and Support to Military and Police
The portion of the report reviewing the security sector reform and activities provides a narrative summary detailing the ways in which FRCI is working to rebuild and strengthen trust between civilians and their security forces, despite limited progress.
The report does not provide any gender analysis on efforts make in the security sector to ensure women’s protection and participation, but the report does provide some information on the inclusion of women in the FRCI, noting that women only make up two percent of the FRCI forces, and additionally, cites the commitment by FRCI commanders to ensure women make up at least 20 percent of the force. Although the inclusion of this information is positive, the report fails to detail how women have been engaged in the larger security processes including increased legislation oversight of civilian, as well as how challenges, including lack of internal cohesion, indiscipline and shortcomings in operational capability have impacted women’s protection. In addition, the report notes regional security councils attempted to develop a mechanism to bring together state and non-state actors, including civil society, for “decentralizing security services and addressing community-based insecurity;” however, the report also notes reform proposals aimed at restructuring and strengthening trust between civil society and the security forces though the reform remains to be implemented. In both instances, it is unclear whether or not women and women’s organizations have been included in these processes. Overall, the report misses an opportunity to advocate for women’s participation in the security sector, as as mandated by Resolution 2122 (2013), and to provide gender analysis of the impacts of limited reform on women’s protection. Although the discussion is gender blind, the report does discuss civil society engagement in SSR efforts, noting that regional security councils attempted to develop a mechanism to bring together state and non-state actors such as civil society for “decentralizing security services and addressing community-based insecurity.” The Ivorian government also adopted reform proposals aimed at restructuring and strengthening trust between civil society and the security forces though the reform remains to be implemented. It is unclear whether women’s security concerns were addressed in the reform proposals put forth by the government; future reporting should provide information regarding any consultations and overview the gender dimensions of SSR. The Secretary-General should call on the Ivorian government to systematically consult with women civil society in the SSR process and request UNOCI to provide capacity-building support and training in human rights, children protection and protection from SGBV to the Ivorian security and law enforcement institutions, as their mandated tasks.
In addition, the report notes the underrepresentation of women in FRCI (2 percent), and FRCI commanders commit to reaching the proportion of at least 20%. However, the report does not provide further information on the recruitment, retention and professionalization of women military personnel, as Resolution 2106 (2013) advocates for inclusion of more women in security and justice sectors. Future reporting should provide the information on UNOCI’s activities and assistance to the Ivorian government with regard to gender integration policy and gender-sensitive training for the security sector. The Security Council should also call on the Ivorian government to ensure vetting procedures in the security sector for women’s rights violations, especially with regard to SGBV.
Demilitarization and Arms Management
The report misses an opportunity to provide any information on the gender dimension of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) processes in Côte d’Ivoire, despite previously providing information on women combatants in the last report (S/2015/940), including the number of women former combatants in the DDR program. In addition, the report notes that as of January 2016, a total of 69,506 former combatants had entered the national DDR program, of which, 60, 133 are considered reintegrated. However, without sex disaggregated data it is unknown how many combatants, particularly those successfully reintegrated, are women. As UNOCI is mandated to “take into account the rights and needs of the distinct categories of persons to be disarmed, demobilized and reintegrated, including children and women,” the report should at least provide information and some analysis on women’s access to the programs. The report also misses an opportunity to consult with women and women-led organizations to develop effective mechanism for providing protection from violence, including SGBV, to women and girls in DDR processes.
The report also does not provide any gender analysis of the impact of the flow and proliferation of small arms and light weapons on women. At a minimum, the report should encourage the Ivorian Government to empower women, including through capacity-building efforts to participate in the design and implementation of efforts related to the prevention, combating and eradication of the illicit transfer, and the destabilizing accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons, and to take into consideration the specific impact of conflict and post-conflict environments on women’s and girls’ security, mobility, education, economic activity and opportunities, to mitigate the risk of women from becoming active players in the illicit transfer of small arms and light weapons, as per SCR 2242 (2015).
The report does not provide analysis of either the gender dimensions of the humanitarian situation, or the ways in which the humanitarian response, including emergency responses and contingency planning, are responding to gender-specific needs, particularly with regard to the repatriation and reintegration of refugees in neighboring countries and internally displaced persons (IDPs). There are no references to women in the humanitarian situation section of the report; however, the report notes that President Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire underscores “the importance of addressing issues relating to property rights and land, particularly with respect to women and vulnerable persons” when considering the efforts to encourage the return of persons in exile, but the report misses an opportunity to promote women’s full participation and protection in land reform, per SCR 2122 (OP 4). The reports fails to provide any information on what measures or technical assistance are taken by UNOCI to ensure gender-sensitive humanitarian aid available for all returnees, refugees and IDPs, as per Resolutions 1325 (2000) and 2242 (2015), including whether or not the provision of medical care, ongoing psychosocial counseling and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services are available, as mandated by SCR 2122 (2013), which includes access to emergency contraception and safe abortion services. At the minimum, future reporting should provide sex disaggregated data on refugees and IDPs as well as for all cited persons receiving aid. e.
Human Rights, WPS and Children and Armed Conflict
The portion of the report reviewing the human rights situation in Cote d’Ivoire provides a narrative summary of the persistent human rights violations, including SGBV, emphasizing the limited progress made in Cote d’Ivoire. However, the report misses an opportunity to highlight the importance of women civil society’s participation in protecting women’s rights and eliminating SGBV.
The report notes that Côte d’Ivoire remains on the list of countries examined by the Secretary-General's Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, and the Ivorian government made limited progress in implementing its national strategy to combat sexual violence. This reference could have been improved by specifically detailing the limitation of progress to implement the national strategy, particularly emphasizing what gaps exists and how such gaps impact survivors affected by SGBV. The report also misses an opportunity to provide any information on whether women civil society is consulted or involved in the implementation of the national strategy to combat sexual violence. Future reporting should include updates on gender-responsive protection and consultations local women civil society. Further, it is equally important to recognize the perpetration of SGBV against men and boys, and advocate for the provision of services for all survivors, particularly the provision of particularly in the provision of medical care, ongoing psychosocial counseling and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, as mandated by SCR 2122 (2013), and to address stigmatization.
In addition, the report notes that during the period of strategic review, two cases of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) were reported. However, the report misses an opportunity to call on UNOCI and Member States to ensure all investigations and prosecutions for SEA are conducted in accordance with international standards and to ensure no impunity or transfers for any international staff implicated in the allegations of SEA. At a minimum, the Secretary-General should have called for the full compliance of UNOCI with the UN zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse in the “Observation” section. as well as to ensure assistance in the investigation, prosecution, and prevention of SEA, , as perSCR 2272 (2016).
Political Process and Electoral Assistance
In regards to political and electoral process, the report notes the appointment of nine women in the new Cabinet of 36 ministers on 12 January 2016 and the announcement of the national development plan, which prioritizes five goals for 2016, including “promotion of youth and women.” The report misses an opportunity to provide any information on women civil society’s participation in the reconciliation and policy formulation process. It is unclear to what extent the Ivorian government’s development plan will truly respond to women’s needs in post-conflict situation and what technical assistance or gender expertise UNOCI has provided, or could provide. In addition, UNOCI is mandated to provide good offices support to the Ivorian authorities, including by “facilitating dialogue between all political stakeholders, inclusive of representatives of civil society and political parties,” but the report fails to provide any information on the progress of bridging the gap between political parties and civil society, particularly women civil society. Overall, the report does not provide a comprehensive understanding of women’s participation in the political sector, including information and analysis of women’s civil society participation, missing an important opportunity to call on the Ivorian authorities to adopt specific mechanisms to improve women’s access to political participation.
The report contains the Secretary-General’s proposal for the further downsizing and possible termination of UNOCI. The proposed adjustments include reducing the military component by 31 August 2016 and completing the closure of the mission by 30 June 2017. As the Secretary-General proposes, during the final period of its mandated operations, UNOCI should focus on “transitioning remaining priorities towards the UN Country Team and other partners,” as well as “facilitating the efforts needed to address long-term challenges which will remain following the closure of the mission.” However, the report misses an opportunity to call on UNOCI to continue to prioritize the implementation of the WPS agenda and to deploy gender expertise throughout the drawdown processes. In particular, the Secretary-General should have identified addressing SGBV as a “long-term challenge,” which should remain a focus of UN presence following the closure of the mission.
In the context of the mission drawdown, it is important that UNOCI continue to deploy robust gender expertise, including Gender Advisors, to ensure that gender issues are not sidelined in the transitional processes (SCR 2106, OP 8; SCR 2122, OP 4), and should take measures to ensure women’s full and equal participation in the strategic dialogue on UNOCI progressive withdrawal, as well as all disarmament, justice, and security sector reform efforts. In addition, given the limited progress made in the implementation of the national strategy to combat sexual violence, sexual and gender-based violence must continue to be prioritized as a “long term challenge” to address by UN entities following the missions withdraw. . In this context, as the security situation has improved, it is important to take into account women’s socio-economic needs and the needs of SGBV survivors in the post-conflict situation, particularly the the provision of medical care, ongoing psychosocial counseling and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, as mandated by SCR 2122 (2013). In future reports, the Secretary-General should also advocate for reducing the gender gap in the employment market and implementing land rights reform, with particular attention on the economic rights of women refugees and IDPs, to ensure women’s rights to access to land ownership. Finally, UNOCI should take all efforts to ensure the implementation of the WPS agenda remains a priority of the UN Country Team’s after its closure.
 S/2016/297, para. 78
 S/2015/940, para. 81, 83, 88
 S/2016/297, para. 12
 S/2016/297, para. 13
 S/2016/297, para. 15
 S/2016/297, para. 78
 S/RES/2226 (2015), OP. 19(g)
 S/2016/297, para. 36
 S/2016/297, para. 36
 S/2016/297, para. 35
 S/2016/297, para. 37
 S/RES/2122 (2013), OP. 4
 S/2016/297, para. 35
 S/2016/297, para. 37
 S/RES/2226 (2015), OP. 19(e)
 S/2016/297, para. 36
 S/RES/2106 (2013), OP. 16(b)
 S/2016/297 para. 38
 S/RES/2226 (2015), OP. 19(d)
 SCR 1820 (2008), OP 10
 S/2016/297, para. 3
 S/RES/ 1325 (2000), OP. 12; S/RES/2242 (2015), OP. 16
 S/2016/297, para. 29
 S/RES/1820 (2008), OP. 10; S/RES/1960, OP. 8
 S/RES/1888 (2009), OP. 15
 S/2016/297, para. 67
 2015 Civil Society Roadmap Women, Peace and Security, available at: http://womenpeacesecurity.org/media/pdf-2015WPSRoadmap.pdf
 S/RES/2272 (2016), OP. 4, 5
 S/2016/297, para. 8
 S/RES/2226 (2015), OP. 19(b)
 S/2016/297, para. 69
 S/2016/297, para. 29