Security Council on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) S/PV.7046 21 October 2013. The Security Council met on 21 October 2013 to discuss the situation in the DRC as well as the recent Report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (S/2013/569) and the Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) (S/2013.581). The Council was also briefed by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Head of MONUSCO and the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region. The Council also heard a statement from DRC. Key issues discussed in the meeting include the Kampala talks, Mission priorities and efforts to align the Mission structures to the revised
Mission priorities, along with progress in the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework and priorities and future steps in the implementation of the mandate of the Special Envoy. Women, peace and security issues were addressed to a certain degree in the meeting with a 50:50 balance between references to women’s participation and protection concerns. References to women, peace and security concerns were made on nine occasions in the meeting, with at least one reference made by each of the speakers. In particular, With regards to protection, the Special Representative made reference to incidences of mass rape and discussed zero tolerance for what he called sexual terrorism and child recruitment as the seventh priority of the Mission. This was furthered by the Special Envoy who reaffirmed her commitment to ending impunity and promoting accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including sexual violence. In this respect, the Special Envoy also quoted a section of the draft provisions on amnesty and integration, which at this point would exclude individuals indicted for, inter alia, crimes of sexual violence. Two further references to sexual violence, and rape specifically, related to the conflict were made by DRC. With regards to participation, the Special Envoy noted that she would continue to pay close attention and support the interests of women and youth in the region, while developing a platform for communication and funding for women’s groups in the region. Finally, DRC discussed the participation of civil society in national consultations initiated by the President, noting the significant representation by women and youth.
The above reference to women, peace and security concerns notwithstanding, it is unfortunate that speakers missed an opportunity to reference gender issues with regards to the participation of women, beyond the Special Envoy herself, in conflict mediation and resolution efforts, including the Kampala talks. It is also unfortunate that the Council did not address a gender perspective with regards to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR), security sector arrangements and reform, as well as the MONUSCO’s restructuring, including the strengthening of its presence in certain areas and the transfer of some of the Mission’s responsibilities to the country team. The Council also misses an opportunity to include gendered language with regards to the return of refugee and internally displaced populations.
The September 2013 NGOWG MAP recommendations call for specific information on efforts to include women in all peace and reconciliation efforts, targeted attacks on women, the impact of the humanitarian situation on women and girls as well as information on the centrality of women’s rights to and in electoral, security sector and judicial reform. These are not reflected in the MAP report. The MAP also calls for the intervention brigade’s protection mandate to be held to strict vetting procedures and training, it is unfortunate that the specifics of MONUSCO’s and the intervention brigade’s protection mandate were not discussed in the meeting, especially amidst the forthcoming shifts and transitions.
The previous Security Council meeting on DRC was held on 25 July 2013 and resumed on 26 July 2013 and addressed the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the region (S/2013/387) under the presidency of the United States. As the meeting was much longer and included a much more extensive list of speakers, it is expected that many more references were made to women, peace and security concerns throughout the meeting. It is unfortunate that the diversity of references to women, peace and security and women’s rights more generally is not reflected in the present meeting.