The Security Council met on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 12 November 2013 (S/PV. 7057).
The Security Council met to discuss the forty-fourth report on the implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), covering the period of 20 April to 21 October 2013, pursuant to the letter dated 5 November from the Secretary-General (S/2013/646). The Council was briefed by the High Representative Valentin Inzko and heard statements from Council Members and invitees BiH, Croatia and Serbia. The meeting focuseds on the failure of BiH’s political leaders to tackle the country’s political and economic challenges, as polarizing political rhetoric continues to characterize the political situation in BiH. It addresseds the continued failure of leaders to reach an agreement to implement a key ruling of the European Court of Human Rights (the “Sejdic-Finci Ruling”), and consequently the country’s inability to take necessary steps towards European Union (EU) membership. Similarly, the elusive progress regarding military property ownership continueds, inhibiting BiH from activating its Membership Action Plan with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
The High Representative expressed concern over the willingness of Republika Srpska to challenge the State under the Peace Agreement and the continuous statements by Republika Srpska leaders’ that advocated for the dissolution of BiH as a country. Related, political interference in the judicial system has resulted in the failure to implement some 80 verdicts from the Constitutional Court. Further, the lack of urgency by authorities in establishing political and economic reforms wasis another major concern. The High Representative highlighted the necessity of EU and NATO military presence in assuring the public and serving as a deterrent effect. Despite unemployment above 40%, there has been positive developments in exports and industrial production. A vital development wais the country’s first population census in 20 years, which was conducted in October. The High Representative noted that, it was important the results of the census are not used to further promote and exacerbate ethnic divisions. Finally, the High Representative articulated that the international community needs to reconfigure its approach and strengthen partnerships in BiH to assist citizens and leaders achieve goals of peace and prosperity.
Several Council Members and invitees emphasized the importance of BiH to address challenges without outside interference, notably China and Russia, while the majority of Council members articulated the integral role of international assistance and the need to ensure BiH upholds its international obligations.
Women, Peace and Security concerns wereare absent from the statements of the High Representative, Council Members and invitees.
The meeting faileds to address both women’s human rights protection and promotion concerns as well as the crucial role of women’s participation in political, peace and security processes. First, the meeting faileds to mention the role of political interference in the judiciary in hindering the implementation of verdicts of sexual and gender-based, and also the role political interference in stalling the adoption of the State Programme for Victims of Sexual Violence in Conflict and Beyond, BiH Law on the Rights of Victims of Torture and Civilian Victims of War and the BiH Strategy for Transitional Justice. The statements by both LuxembourgLuxemburg and Rwanda emphasized the need for justice and reconciliation, and had were aare significant missed opportunitiesy to consider the promotion and protection of women’s human rights. Particularly, Rwanda emphasizeding the need for equal access to resources, services and equality before law as essential components for peace, but failed to explicitly mention women, and particularly the needs and rights of women survivors of sexual violence. Further, Rwanda articulated the need for a safe return of all refugees, yet the gender-specific considerations for female refugees are absent from the discussion.
In relation to the recommendations put forth in the November 2013 MAP, the meeting’s record wasis inadequate. The MAP calleds for numerous points including, the mainstreaming of gender considerations throughout all areas of the High Representative’s work; the Security Council should calling on BiH to take concrete steps to ensure services are accessible to survivors of sexual violence; providinge financial and other practical measures to NGOs that can deliver support to survivors; and ensuringe participation of all relevant stakeholders in the development of the State Programme for Victims of Sexual Violence in Conflict and Beyond, and nationalstate level discussions aimed at adopting the BiH Law on the Rights of Victims of Torture and Civilian Victims of War and the BiH Strategy for Transitional Justice. Finally, the Security Council could haveshould called upon BiH to implement the SCR 1325 NAP adopted in 2010. None of the MAP recommendations werare incorporated in the meeting. Particularly, when discussing the challenges to rule of law, the continued impunity for perpetrators of sexual violence and failure to implement verdicts of the constitutional court should have been articulated. Further, none of the speakers addressed the specific needs of women survivors of sexual violence nor are rights of women refugees.
The limited mention of women, peace and security issues in the meeting of 12 November 2013 (S/PV.7057) was on par with the previous meeting of 14 May 2013 (S/PV. 6966). The current meeting improves with statements by the representatives of Luxemburg and Rwanda, who articulated the great need for justice and reconciliation in BiH, however, the statements lacked a gender perspective. Despite the relevance of women, peace and security in the numerous issues discussed, no gender perspective wais incorporated in either meeting.