This report from the Secretary-General on UNOCI provides an update on major developments since December 2013 and it includes the Secretary General’s recommendations for the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire, particularly the extension of its mandate given the crucial role that it still plays. The report is divided into the following sections: Introduction; Political situation; Security situation; Regional issues; Reform of security and rule of law institutions; Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration; Extension of State authority; Human rights; Media; Economic situation; Humanitarian situation; Strategic reviews of Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia; Proposed adjustments to the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire; Financial implications; Observations and Annex.
Women, peace and security issues are discussed on numerous occasions throughout this report. The references to the WPS agenda reflect both women’s protection and participation concerns. The report discusses the following progress in the situation in the country: the government took steps to improve gender balance in security institutions, placing emphasis on the gendarmerie and the report highlights the importance of the equal participation of women in SSR (P. 23, 85). The report also mentions that women have been consulted in regards to returnees’ matters and for the completing of the strategic review (P.57, 60 and 87).In regards to the protection of women, the current ability to conduct investigations and fight crime, including sexual and gender-based violence of the police is limited (P. 26, 84); there are low prosecution rates due to the reclassification of rape as indecent assault and the high costs of medical certificates required to confirm rape, furthermore, the government has yet to allocate resources for the national strategy against sexual and gender-based violence launched in July 2013 (P. 42). Moreover, the report addressed women’s involvement in DDR through the disarmament and demobilization of 1596 former female combatants (P. 32) as well as the introduction of a resocialization programme by the authority for DDR which included training in gender and the successful protection of 18 girls who escaped circumcision following the intervention of gendarmes in Djoman (P. 43). Finally, as a small note, the Secretary General Special Representative for Côte d’Ivoire, Aichatou Mindaoudou is a woman who could be considered an example of leadership for other missions in the region.
Despite the previously discussed noteworthy mentions, the report missed the opportunity to provide a gender perspective on the following issues, with a special emphasis on the importance of women’s full and active involvement and participation in: new sub-prefectures and local authorities; national reconciliation, cohesion and dialogue processes; election-related processes and reforms for 2015; reforms related to issues of nationality and land; the development of an ethics charter for the judiciary to address corruption, including gender-sensitive training; the implementation of the national justice and security sector reforms; socioeconomic programs for returnees; and the fight against impunity including the administration of justice for crimes against humanity and other human rights violations. Also, the report missed a chance to offer a gender lens in regards to the outbreak of the Ebola virus in the region and its disproportionate impact on women and girls as well as providing further information in regards to female returnees’ specific needs to ensure their durable reintegration into their communities. Finally, the report failed to provide gender disaggregated data when discussing the following groups: exiled returnees, victims of violence, in particular people who have suffered from gender-based and sexual violence, people that were provided free consultations from legal clinics, refugees seeking asylum and groups that were consulted for the strategic review.
In relation to the recommendations put forth in the May 2014 MAP the report’s record is adequate. However, despite the fact that the report did address most of the MAP recommendations such as: women’s participation in DDR, particularly female ex-combatants and the promotion of their participation in the security sector and judicial sector reforms, as well as some of the challenges related to impunity, in particular for sexual and gender-based violence; the report failed to provide comprehensive information on such violence and more importantly, it failed to discuss women’s participation on national reconciliation and electoral processes as well as land reform, including the specific barriers to that they face.
This report displayed some improvement to the previous S/2013/761 from 24 December 2013 as it discussed women’s involvement in SSR and DDR, however the previous report included more gender disaggregated data and provided a detailed list of strategic benchmarks that could be used to measure progress that reflects a gender perspective.