The Security Council met on 10 October 2013 to discuss the Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (S/2013/493). The UK made a statement after this meeting regarding concern over usefulness of keeping MINUSTAH deployed,
Issues of women, peace and security are not referenced during the meeting
In its discussion over the usefulness of MINUSTAH, and whether other elements of the UN could better address the challenges in Haiti, the UK could have stressed the importance of demilitarizing and gender-specific impacts of this and move to only UN civilian management in the country to best protect and promote the human rights of women.
Security Council Resolution 2119 (10 October 2013)
Following upon the report of the Secretary-General of 19 August 2013 (S/2013/493), the UN Security Council adopted a resolution to renew the mandate of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) through 15 October 2014, yet still continuing its gradual and conditions-based drawdown of MINUSTAH’s overall presence in Haiti.
Women, peace and security concerns are noted several times within both the preambular and operative sections, particularly with regards to the protection of human rights. The preamble acknowledges the persistence of sexual and gender-based violence, particularly in marginalized districts of Port-au-Prince, internally displaced person camps and remote areas of the country; and recognizes that combating sexual and gender-based violence is essential to ensuring the rule of law and security in Haiti. The operative paragraphs similarly highlight the protection needs of women and girls, condemning widespread sexual and gender-based violence (OP 18) and calling for continued measures to ensure full compliance of the zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse (OP 20). SCR 2119 also stresses that special attention should be given to women and children in the context of: prolonged pretrial detentions and prison conditions and overcrowding (OP 14), improving living conditions (OP 16), internally displaced persons camps (OP 19), and the Mission’s community violence reduction approach (OP 23); and accordingly calls for joint policing in the camps (OP 19), improved response to rape claims and access to justice for victims of sexual and gender-based violence (including through the promotion of national legislation) (OP 18), and greater efforts from troop- and police-contributing countries to prevent, investigate and punish instances of sexual exploitation and abuse (OP 20). Finally and significantly, it encourages the promotion of increased women’s political participation (OP 8), which was absent from MINUSTAH’s mandate prior.
Although there are many references to the protection of women’s human rights, and the newly-added call for increased women’s political participation is a welcome change, the resolution remains unbalanced in its approach to women, peace and security. Women’s full and effective participation should be mainstreamed throughout the resolution, and should encompass more than the political sphere alone, instead also acknowledging the importance of participation within economic, social and cultural life. Especially coming on the heels of the Report of the Secretary-General (S/2013/493), which offered a more balanced approach with references to women’s inclusion in public life, political participation, electoral processes and a constitutional quota for participation in the electoral law, SCR 2119 misses the opportunity for a more holistic response.
In relation to the recent October 2013 MAP, SCR 2119 addresses protection concerns for women and girls, and calls for greater access to justice for victims of sexual and gender-based violence. It also stresses the zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA), and urges troop- and police-contributing countries to redouble their efforts in preventing, investigating and punishing acts of SEA. Encouragingly, the resolution also includes the promotion of increased women’s political participation. However, broader calls for women’s full and effective participation and empowerment are lacking, with gender predominantly siloed within the context of human rights protection.
The previous resolution on Haiti of 12 October 2012 (S/RES/2070) offers a very similar account of protection concerns related to sexual and gender-based violence, but meaningfully, the current resolution diverges from the year prior by including within MINUSTAH’s mandate the promotion of increased women’s political participation (OP 8). Further, although both resolutions acknowledge the spectrum of women, peace and security resolutions, the current resolution references SCR 1325 (2000) a second time in the context of women’s political participation.