Date: 11 July 2017
Period: April - July 2017
Pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2299 (2016), the Security Council extends the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) until 31 July 2017 and calls upon the Government of Iraq to continue to provide security and logistical support to the United Nations presence in Iraq (OP1). This resolution also highlights the need to accelerate the coordinated implementation of monitoring, analysis and reporting arrangements on sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict situations (PP4).
The report outlines the major political and security developments in Iraq. Despite the success in establishing full control over the old city and implementing the post-Mosul recovery and resilience programme (paras. 2, 64), the report suggests that ISIL continues to maintain its control over Hawijah district in Kirkuk governorate and over parts of Anbar governorate (para. 21). Such situation continues to take a toll on civilians (para. 44). 1,670 Yazidi women and girls remain in ISIL enslavement (para. 45); 682,000 are displaced (para. 57); health facilities and health personnel are frequent subjects of attacks (para. 52). In fact, violations are committed by both the Government (i.e.: enforced disappearances (paras. 23, 24)) and non-state forces (i.e.: child recruitment and sexual enslavement (para. 36). Several efforts are made by UNAMI to address the situation. These include: (a) support for the Government of Iraq’s efforts on the implementation of the joint communiqué between the Government and the United Nations; (b) promotion of inclusive national reconciliation and dialogue (paras. 4, 5, 13); (c) reform of the legal system; (d) support for civil society initiatives.
Of 81 paragraphs in the report, 12 (14,81%) include references to women and gender. This demonstrates a decrease in the number of references over time (S/2017/357), while the scope of WPS within the report remains limited. The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative continues his engagement with women’s groups and civil society to advance inclusive political dialogue and national reconciliation in post-ISIL Iraq (para. 32), including through supporting social peace initiative launched by women parliamentarians from Ninawa (para. 37). While discussing efforts to implement the joint communique on prevention of, and response to, conflict-related sexual violence in Iraq, the UN Secretary-General however provides no references to the role of a Senior Women’s Protection Adviser that has been appointed earlier this year (para. 38). No gender analysis subsequently has been undertaken to assess the post-Mosul recovery and resilience programme and/or any prevention efforts. The majority of references to gender broadly focus on protection concerns, particularly in regards to sexual and gender-based violence.
While the reports notes the presence of women in the electoral process, it does not provide any assessment of the “meaningfulness” of women’s participation in politics in Iraq. According to the report of the Informal Expert Group on WPS (S/2016/683), women have little influence on what is put to a vote, given that such matters are pushed through parliamentary committees and are decided by political blocs, where women have little representation. The report does not provide any specific information on the National Strategy for the Advancement of Women, as well as a social peace initiative launched by women parliamentarians from Ninawa. It also fails to provide any information on measures aimed at achieving general gender equality, tackling gender stereotypes and including a gender perspective in “a long-term process that improves governance and promotes reconciliation” (para. 68).
In his previous report (S/2017/357), the UN Secretary-General discussed the appointment of a Senior Women’s Protection Adviser aimed at strengthening capacity-building efforts and assisting in the implementation of the joint communique. There is however no follow-up analysis on the role and performance of a Senior Women’s Protection Adviser. The report includes no discussion on efforts to build capacity for justice mechanisms at the local level and strengthen women’s knowledge of legal procedures. Women continue to be disproportionately affected by arms proliferation as these are often used as intimidation in the perpetration of sexual violence. The report however does not discuss any efforts aimed at de-militarisation of the situation in Iraq and ending impunity for all armed actors.
At the national and local level, early warning systems can be used as communication channels to prevent violence. Many women’s organisation carry out their own prevention initiatives. Gender mainstreaming is also crucial to successful prevention efforts. However the report is generally silent on the issue of the incorporation of a gender perspective and the participation of women in preventing the emergence, spread and re-emergence of conflict and political violence. The efforts of civil society are also not taken into consideration.
There is no discussion on what systems are in place to ensure of women’s leadership and support for women’s organisations (S/RES/1889, OP1) and on what has been done to ensure gender mainstreaming in all processes related to peacebuilding in Iraq. Even though National Action Plan (NAPs) is a key mechanism through which the Government is expected to identify their inclusion and equality priorities and commit to action, the report does not reference the progress achieved to finance and strengthen the implementation of the UNSCR1325 (2000) National Action Plan in Iraq.
As the conflict between ISIL/Daesh and Iraqi Government forces continues to dominate the security situation, future reports must apply a gender lens to the security situation and provide information and gender analysis on all human rights violations, regardless of the perpetrators’ international status. The UN Secretary-General should also inquire UNAMI to support women’s organisations in their work to prevent violent extremism and rehabilitate former extremists and further report on ways in which women and gender analysis are included in the country’s national prevention initiatives and early warning mechanisms.
Future reports must stress the importance of ensuring women’s meaningful participation in all phases of electoral processes (S/RES/2122, OP 8). The report should include more detailed information about the steps undertaken by UNAMI to support women’s participation, including as members of civil society, in all peace and security processes. The UN Security Council members should also request information on efforts by the Iraqi Government to allocate funding for the implementation of the UNSCR1325 (2000) National Action Plan in Iraq.
The report has to provide a comprehensive update on how the UNAMI mission is working to address challenges faced by women in conflict-affected areas. The UN Secretary-General, in this regards, should provide more details on the implementation of the joint communique and evaluate the performance of a recently appointed Senior Women’s Protection Adviser. The reporting should subsequently include more information on Women, Peace and Security, allowing for obtaining gender-specific information and sex-disaggregated statistics. The UN Secretary-General should encourage the Government to pass the draft Family Violence Protection law with proposed amendments from Iraqi women’s rights organisations, including provisions that legalise non-governmental shelters for women and other at-risk individuals.
The UN Secretary-General should encourage accountability for serious human rights violations against all groups by all sides, including SGBV, sexual slavery, abduction and human trafficking by ISIL and reports of beatings and unlawful detention by Government forces and allied militias during military offensives. In the face of the most heinous crimes, including an ongoing genocide against the Yazidi and other ethnic minorities, the UN Secretary-General should also request the UN Security Council to take immediate measures in line with the UN Genocide Convention. The UN Secretary-General should further expand the scope of current reporting efforts to record all gender-based crimes including crimes against women human rights defenders, LGBTIQ persons, men and boys, civilian women and girls with actual or perceived ties to ISIL and persecution of individuals who do not conform to gender norms to ensure accountability for all perpetrators.