Twenty-fifth semi-annual Report of the Secretary-General:
on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1559 (2004)
Date: 28 April 2017
Period: October, 2016 - March, 2017.
Reaffirming its call for the strict respect of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity, and political independence of Lebanon in Security Council Resolution 1559 (2004), the Security Council calls upon all remaining foreign forces to disarm and withdraw from Lebanon and declares its support for a free and fair electoral process in Lebanon.
The report gives a detailed account of political and security situations in Lebanon. Specifically, it notes that due to the ongoing conflict in Syria, the implementation of a number of provisions, including those relating to the existence, activities and disarmament processes of Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias and the delineation of the Syrian-Lebanese border remains pending (paras. 2, 13, 26). At the same time, Israel continues to occupy the northern part of the village of Ghajar (para. 16) and send its unmanned aerial vehicles and fixed-wing aircraft to make daily overflights of Lebanon (para. 17). Within the political realm, changes are also minimal. The new electoral law remains pending (paras. 6, 8) despite the fact that both parties, the Future Movement and Hizbullah, emphasised the need for agreement on this law (para. 12). It also remains a fundamental anomaly that a political party maintains a militia that has no accountability to the democratic, governmental institutions of the State and that has the power to take that State to war without any public accountability or parliamentary review. Notably, on 27 March, the Cabinet also endorsed the draft State budget and submitted it for parliamentary ratification (Note: The last State budget was approved in 2005) (para. 9). Finally, the situation of refugees in Lebanon remains challenging. The number of registered refugees from the Syrian Arab Republic hosted by Lebanon remains at slightly more than 1 million (para. 11). Specifically, the situation in the Palestine refugee camp of Ein El Helweh remained tense during the reporting period, with three rounds of violence (para. 28).
Of 63 paragraphs in the report, 2 (3,22%) include references to women and gender. Existing references concentrate on women’s participation in politics. On 27 December 2016, the Cabinet agreed on its ministerial statement, in which the Government committed itself to strengthening the role of women in public life and pledged to work with the Parliament to institute a quota for women in the electoral law. However, since the delay in the adoption of the new electoral law, this commitment may remain unrealised for a long time.
The protection needs of women in refugee camps are not discussed in the report. Subsequently, there is no specific references to the ways in which violence in refugee camps affects women. The report also does not refer to the ways in which the lack of the progress in the field of disarmament affects women and other groups on the ground.
The report suggests that the Lebanese security services also pursued their efforts to prevent terrorist attacks in the country (para. 20); it failed however to note what kind of precautions are applied to ensure that counter-terrorism measures will not violate the main principles of international human rights law.
Existing references concentrate on women’s participation in politics; however, this expressed commitment has not yet been supported by any concrete actions, as per the report of the UN Secretary-General.
Relief and Recovery
The protection and empowerment of women in Lebanon require a comprehensive legal response to the crimes committed against women in particular and against civilians in general, including the fight against impunity. However, the report does not discuss the efforts made to hold perpetrators accountable for the violence in refugee camps and elsewhere.
To help women over low representation in politics, the Secretary-General could have pointed out obstacles to women and outline steps that the Government can undertake to overcome them beyond the adoption of the electoral law. In this regard, future reporting should include references to WPS resolutions to further facilitate women’s full participation and protection in election preparation and political processes. Lebanon should adopt a gender quota by at least 33%, which must be combined with meaningful participation and stronger influence of women in the political arena.
The UN Secretary-General should outline protection needs of women in refugee camps that are not discussed in the previous reports. Subsequently, there is a need to outline specific references to the ways in which general violence and the lack of political progress and disarmament success affects women. The UN Secretary-General must also work with the Lebanese Government to ensure that all women, including refugee women and girls, are protected from gender-based violence and other abuses, and that they are able to seek redress from Lebanese authorities.
The report should invite the Government to ensure that specific legal and administrative precautions are applied to ensure that counter-terrorism measures do not violate the main principles of international human rights law. Since empowering women through developing strategies and interventions to counter terrorism and violent extremism is at the core of the UN’s strategy to prevent violent extremism, the UN Secretary-General should work with relevant agency to ensure that relevant programs are in place and properly funded.
Relief and Recovery
The UN Secretary-General should introduce existing measures that are in place to ensure disbanding and disarmament of Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias and describe the efforts made to hold perpetrators accountable for the violence in refugee camps and elsewhere.