Date: 8 June 2016
Topic: This special report provides an update on the situation in Darfur and the implementation of UNAMID’s mandate through its benchmarks from 1 July 2015 to 15 May 2016.
Women, Peace and Security Introduction
This special report provides an update on the situation in Darfur and an assessment of the implementation of United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) benchmarks in the form of a strategic review from 1 July 2015 to 15 May 2016. The report includes only four references to the women, peace and security agenda. Of those, three focus on women’s protection, namely sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), while the other focuses on women’s participation as police officers in UNAMID. Given that the UNAMID benchmarks, laid out in SCR 2228 (2015), mainly focus on women’s protection and SGBV, the report’s focus on protection is not surprising (S/RES/2228 (2015), Annex A). However, although the benchmarks also include women’s participation in the internal dialogue and peace process, the report failed to provide information or analysis on women’s participation in these processes (S/RES/2228 (2015), Annex A). The report’s overview of the situation in Darfur is also entirely gender blind, missing an opportunity to discuss challenges within the mission that hinder the implementation of UNAMID’s ability to meet its women, peace and security benchmarks.
References in Need of Improvement and Missed Opportunities
Inclusive peace process through mediation between the Government and non-signatory armed movements on the basis of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur.
This section of the report covers peace process negotiations, administrative governance initiatives and the implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur without including any reporting on the women, peace and security agenda. Additionally, reporting on the peace process in the background section focused only on the higher level actions of the government and armed groups, without any information on the participation of women or grassroots organizations, other than to list civil society among the groups that boycotted the National Dialogue Conference in October 2015 (S/2016/510 para. 16-19). Similarly, the report misses the opportunity to include women’s participation and concern in negotiations between the government and armed groups, and issues with the administrative referendum and implementing the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (S/2016/510 para. 20-27). The report would have been much stronger if it had included analysis of women’s concerns and the impact on women of the negotiations between the government and armed groups and included information on women’s participation in those negotiations (S/2016/510 para. 20-21). The report also should have included information, including sex disaggregated data, on women’s participation in the referendum, highlighting the unique concerns of displaced women and their ability to participate, and the impact of the referendum on women’s human rights, ability to participate in public life and protection concerns (S/2016/510 para. 22-23). Although the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur includes references to the women, peace and security agenda, the report fails to include those aspects of the Document and women’s participation in the implementation and consultations process, including the return of displaced person, addressing, “root causes of the conflict, including intercommunal violence, the sharing of power resources, justice and reconciliation and the role of the local communities,” to ensure women’s concerns were integrated into all peace processes, as per SCR 2106 (2013), OP 12 (S/2016/510 para. 24-27). Overall, the report misses the opportunity highlight women’s full and meaningful participation, including women’s organizations in all peace negotiations and processes (SCR 2122 (2013), OP 1).
Protection of civilians and unhindered humanitarian access and the safety and security of humanitarian personnel
The report’s consideration of this benchmark includes physical protection, the unique challenges of those displaced, human rights, rule of law and humanitarian assistance, but only considered the sexual and gender-based violence aspect of the women, peace and security agenda. This section of the report highlights that conflict-related insecurity continues to result in rape, “sexual and gender-based violence and conflict-related sexual violence” (S/2016/510 para. 30, 32). Additionally, the length of the conflict, “widespread proliferation of weapons and frequent intercommunal fighting have all added to the risk of exposure and the vulnerability of civilians, especially women and girls, to sexual and gender-based violence and conflict-related sexual violence” (S/2016/510 para. 33). Despite these inclusions, the report could have been stronger by reporting data and trends on sexual and gender-based violence and early warning indicators (SCR 1888 (2009), OP 24). The report should have included a gender lens in reporting on sexual violence, condemned all acts of sexual and gender-based violence and highlighted the need for a gender-sensitive response, protection, prevention and reporting on crimes of SGBV, including, gender-specific health and judicial services for survivors (SCR 2106 (2013), OP 19). Further, the report notes that sexual violence is a constant risk outside displaced persons camps when women and girls carry out livelihood activities and that, “social stigma, police inaction and the serious capacity deficit in the justice sector,” result in a very low reporting rate of crimes of sexual and gender-based violence, but should have reported on efforts to address stigma and access to health and psychosocial support (S/2016/510 para. 33). Overall, the report’s consideration of sexual and gender-based violence would have been stronger by using survivor language, instead of ‘victim’ (S/2016/510 para. 32, 33).
The report also should have considered other aspects of women’s protection aside from sexual and gender-based violence, including the broader impacts of fighting between the government and armed groups, intercommunal conflict and the risk of displacement (S/2016/510 para. 28-29). Additionally, the report should have included this analysis in its recommendations on internally displaced people and intercommunal conflict in its final section (S/2016/510 para. 63-64). The report could also have been stronger in the area of women’s protection by including women’s participation in efforts to address sexual and gender-based violence specifically and the security situation more broadly, including efforts to reduce the proliferation of weapons (S/2016/510 para. 31). Further, the report should have included a gender lens in the impact of impunity and challenges the justice system, including calling for accountability and focusing on women and women in vulnerable groups, including IDPs, refugees,and female-heads of households (S/2016/510 para. 32). The report should have included the gender dimensions of the legal system, particularly how women’s rights and protections are considered and included women’s participation in the justice and security sectors as a key way to advance the rule of law (SCR 1820 (2008), OP 10). The report would have been much stronger if it had, also, called for and highlighted women’s civil society organizations’ work on monitoring the broader human rights situation for women, including sexual and gender-based violence.
The report further failed to include any information, including sex and age disaggregated data, on women’s protection concerns, including sexual and gender-based violence, in its reporting on fighting between the government and other armed groups (S/2016/510 para. 4-7) and intercommunal conflict, which have intensified and, “led to regular flare-ups of violence, as state-level efforts to address land use, resource-sharing, the return of and compensation for internally displaced persons remain insufficient” (S/2016/510 para. 8). The report also misses the opportunity to include a gender lens in its consideration of, “widespread proliferation of weapons,” including the link between small arms and light weapons and sexual violence (S/2016/510 para. 8). The report fails to include analysis on the impact of, “ the inadequacy of rule of law and judicial institutions, which contributes to a culture of impunity and the weakening of traditional conflict resolution mechanisms and reconciliation processes,” on women’s rights and their ability to participate in peace processes (S/2016/510 para. 8 34-36).
Additionally, the report misses the opportunity to report on the situation for women in the context of the humanitarian situation (S/2016/510 para. 13-15, 39). The report only includes gender-blind information on the number and needs of people displaced and government efforts to end displacement in Darfur, when it should have provided explicit references women’s protection concerns in the delivery and access to humanitarian aid and in camps (S/2016/510 para. 13-15, 37-38). The report also should have provided an overall understanding of the gender dimensions of the humanitarian situation, including women and women’s civil society organizations’ participation in the design and provision of aid, including sexual and reproductive and women’s health services (SCR 1889 (2009), OP 10). Finally, the report could have been stronger by reporting on the impact of significant vacancies due to visa denials in the areas of human rights and protection of civilians in UNAMID and movement restrictions on the mission by the government on women’s human rights (S/2016/510 para. 44, 48).
Prevention or mitigation of community conflict through mediation and, in conjunction with the United Nations country team, measures to address its root causes
Although brief, this section’s consideration of intercommunal violence and disarmament misses the opportunity to include both women’s participation and protection concerns. This omission fails to reflect the importance of including women’s participation in all aspects of conflict prevention, resolution, and peacebuilding, as per SCR 2242 (2015) OP. 15. The report should have provided analysis on the impact of government efforts to stem violence, including its disarmament campaign, on women’s safety, freedom of movement and human rights (S/2016/510 para. 40-41). Additionally, the report should have included women’s participation in the disarmament program and highlighted how the campaign could improve women’s rights by referencing the link between sexual violence and small arms and light weapons in resolution 2117 (2013) (S/2016/510 para. 41).
The report notes that the visa application for the Senior Gender Advisor was among those rejected by the government of Sudan, but should have gone further to analyze how the vacancy impacts UNAMID’s ability to ensure women’s protection and participation in mission work and activities (S/2016/510 para. 45). In addition, in it’s only consideration of women’s participation, the report includes the Secretariat’s intention to increase the number of female police officers to better interact with internally displaced persons, but fails to call for broader gender balance and gender expertise in all functional components, in addition to pre-deployment training on the women, peace and security agenda (S/2016/510 para. 56).
Ideal WPS Transformational Asks
The strategic review report has a rather narrow view of the women, peace and security agenda in Darfur and UNAMID, focusing on women’s protection and sexual and gender-based violence. Given that the review was an opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of UNAMID, the report’s failure to consider the full women, peace and security agenda, particularly women’s participation, is a special missed opportunity to better incorporate women’s concerns and agency into the future of the mission, which fails to reflect previous Council commitments to enhance reporting on the women, peace and security agenda as per SCR 2242 (2015). Future strategic reviews and reporting on UNAMID should include and call for women and women’s civil society organizations’ full and meaningful participation in all peace processes at all levels, including the implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, and the integration of women’s concerns at all levels, as, “without a significant implementation shift, women and women’s perspectives will continue to be underrepresented in conflict prevention [and] resolution,” as per SCR 2122 (2013), OP 15. On women’s protection, reporting should include broader reporting on sexual and gender-based violence, including the context of impunity and lack of respect for women’s human rights, and efforts, including by women and women’s groups, to ensure accountability for all violations of women’s human rights. Future report also should include the full spectrum of women’s protection concerns, including in government and armed groups conflict, intercommunal violence, and displacement. Additionally, future reporting should reverse having no mention of the needs of or services for women, either those displaced or survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, as part of the reporting on the humanitarian situation. Finally, all reporting should acknowledge the importance of the prevention pillar of the women, peace and security agenda and include gender equality and investments in women’s human rights, economic empowerment, education and civil society organizations as part of its reporting on the root causes, including economic drivers and negative conceptions of masculinities, and prevention of conflict.