The report of the Secretary-General, dated 13 November 2013 (S/2013/661), offered the latest account of major developments and Mission activities since the last
SG report of 11 July 2013 (S/2013/408). Pursuant to SCR 2110 (2013), this report highlighted a deteriorating security situation; efforts at national reconciliation
including the National Conference for Social Peace; the adoption of a new law on national parliamentary elections and preparations for elections in 2014; the
postponement of the governorate council elections in the Kurdistan Region; the impact of the Syrian conflict on the humanitarian, security and political situation in
Iraq; continuing protests in the western governorates and throughout Iraq; the Anti-Terrorism Law and detainment; the safety of camp residents; a series of human
rights abuses and concerns; and United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) supporting activities.
This Report on the situation in Iraq and the operations of UNAMI encouragingly offers many references to women, peace and security content. At the same time,
however, it acknowledges the growing political marginalization of women in Iraq (para. 59), a very discouraging trend.
The SG cites women’s representation in Kurdistan parliamentary elections, having won 34 of 111 seats (para. 11), and calls for women’s representation and
meaningful participation in elections and all political processes (paras. 22, 59, 61), but also acknowledges that the National Code of Honour, a set of principles
derived from the National Conference for Social Peace, only had one female signatory (para. 5). Advocacy from various UN representatives and the Women for
Lasting Peace Initiative did, however, introduce language on advancing women’s socioeconomic rights in the document related to the Social Peace Initiative (para.
22). The SG also references continued domestic violence and so-called “honor crimes” in Iraq, and that a responsive Family Protection Law remains stalled in the
Council of Representatives (para. 36). He also mentions the lack of special programs for female detainees and prisoners to ensure their reintegration into society
after release (para. 27).
UN-Women, UNDP and UNAMI have offered assistance to the Government of Iraq on its draft policy on safe houses, holding and referral centers for women at
risk, with shelter creation being one of the key recommendations identified in the National Strategy for Combating Violence Against Women (para. 36). UNFPA has
equipped refugee camps with reproductive and maternal health units, and UNDP has initiated a reporting mechanism to track sexual and gender-based violence and
trafficking regarding 25,000 women and girl refugees living in the camps, as well as a legal aid desk in the Basra courthouse focused on assisting vulnerable women
and victims of domestic and gender-based violence (paras. 48, 52). Finally, the Council of Ministers recently endorsed a five-year public sector reform package for
2014-2018, which aims at improving public service delivery and democratic governance in several sectors, including through gender-responsive budgeting (para. 50).
The Report emphasizes the importance of women’s full and meaningful participation in elections and all political processes, but could do more to highlight women
as essential to conflict resolution, mediation and peacebuilding efforts aimed at easing sectarian tensions and political gridlock in the country. On the whole, the
Report showcases a positive and rather multifaceted approach to women, peace and security concerns, but fails to evidence much translated progress on the ground
In relation to the November 2013 MAP, the Report does bring attention to the protection of civilians and of women in particular, especially in regards to domestic
violence (and so-called “honor crimes”) and sexual and gender-based violence in refugee camps. It also references the lack of special programs for female detainees
and prisoners to ensure their reintegration into society after release, and points to health and legal services being offered to displaced and vulnerable women. But
although there was an emphasis on women’s full and meaningful participation in political processes, there was little detail on the challenges facing women from
gaining entry into such processes. The Report also lacks information on women’s access to justice, and on the development of national strategies on SCR 1325 such
as a National Action Plan.
For the most part, the current Report was an improvement upon the previous Report (S/2013/408), as it notes a number of UN-assisted interventions to support
and protect vulnerable women (including through reproductive and maternal health units in refugee camps, tracking of sexual and gender-based violence and
trafficking amongst female refugees, legal aid for vulnerable women and victims of domestic and gender-based violence, and assistance towards the draft policy on
safe houses, holding and referrals for women at risk), and significantly, includes two references to women’s meaningful participation in the concluding
“Observations” section of the Report. However, the previous Report more explicitly acknowledges the challenges hindering women from participating, and the
continuing call for women’s inclusion in dialogue initiatives to address the crisis facing the country.
Security Council meeting on the situation concerning Iraq, 25 November 2013 (S/PV.7068):
Briefing by SRSG and Head of UNAMI Mr. Nickolay Mladenov, presenting two reports: first, on recent developments in Iraq and the activities of the United
Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) (S/2013/661); and second, on the issues of missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals and missing Kuwaiti
property (S/2013/654). The briefing attends to the deteriorating security situation, the political stalemate, the new election law and next general election (April
2014), the Conference for Social Peace and its National Code of Honour and Social Peace Initiative, rectifying human rights violations and ensuring justice, regional
relations with Kuwait and Turkey, the spillover effects from the Syrian crisis, the situations in Camp Ashraf and Camp Hurriya, and the issues of missing Kuwaiti
and third-country nationals and missing Kuwaiti property. Iraqi representative Mr. Alhakim also made several remarks.
There was only one small reference to women, peace and security, and that was the gender-disaggregated data included in the interministerial committee’s release of
improperly detained prisoners (2 women, 54 total).
Despite a SG Report that devoted significant attention to women, peace and security (S/2013/661), this subsequent briefing gives virtually no consideration to WPS
concerns. It therefore misses the opportunity to stress women’s growing political marginalization in Iraq, and the need for more concerted efforts to include women
as full and meaningful participants in conflict resolution, mediation and peacebuilding processes, as well as in electoral and political life more broadly. It also neglects
to highlight the human rights threats and abuses directed at women and girls in Iraq, including domestic violence (and so-called “honor crimes”), trafficking, forced
prostitution, and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence.
In relation to the most recent MAP on Iraq (November 2013), the Security Council briefing was not responsive. It offers no mention of women’s protection needs,
nor does it bring a gender analysis to situation of detention, displacement or humanitarian access. It does not highlight challenges facing women in political
processes, nor their participation in national reconciliation efforts. And it does not reference women’s access to justice, nor any developments towards a National
The previous meeting on the situation concerning Iraq, S/PV.7002, gave more attention to women, peace and security concerns. In his final briefing to the Council
as SRSG and Head of UNAMI, Mr. Martin Kobler highlighted four principles that he deemed as important to the promotion of greater peaceful coexistence in Iraq,
and the fourth and final principle was that peace and progress will only be achieved in Iraq if both men and women can live without the fear of violence. He
therefore called upon the government to scale up and implement a national policy on women. The current briefing does not carry that message forward.