Pursuant to Security Council resolution 2102 (2013), this report dated 3 March 2014 (S/2014/140) covered major political and security developments in Somalia, updated the Council on the implementation of the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), and offered an assessment of the political and security implications of wider UN deployments across Somalia since the last Secretary-General’s report, S/2013/709. The report touched upon the formation of a new cabinet after the former Prime Minister lost a no confidence vote, the Parliament of Puntland electing a new President, the inauguration of the Interim Juba Administration, the holding of talks between the federal government of Somalia and “Somaliland”, the volatile security situation with regular attacks by Al-Shabaab, UNSOM support towards the implementation of the New Deal Somalia Compact and its peacebuilding and Statebuilding goals (including 1) development of a federal system and constitutional review; 2) security sector; 3) justice), persistent human rights and protection concerns (the Human Rights Due Diligence Policy notwithstanding), efforts aimed at preventing and responding to violence – including sexual violence – against women and girls, women’s empowerment and gender mainstreaming, humanitarian concerns including food security and humanitarian inaccessibility due to persistent insecurity, the implementation of Security Council resolution 2124 (2013),the increased strength of AMISOM and its Somali National Army counterparts, the African Union Peace and Security Council revised concept of operations for AMISOM, and the status of the broader United Nations presence in Somalia.
There were many references to women, peace and security concerns throughout the Secretary-General’s report, ranging from prevention of conflict-related sexual violence to women’s active participation in public life. Prevention and protection were discussed in the context of targeted attacks against journalists and human rights defenders, particularly those defending victims in cases involving gender-based violence (para.47); participants in the Women Peace and Security Open Day calling attention to the absence of a justice system that addresses gender-based violence (para.52); consultations between the UN Team of Experts on the Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict, the federal government of Somalia and other stakeholders on ending violence against women and girls (para.55); the Working Group on gender-based violence developing its 2014-2016 strategy, with UNFPA coordinating the development of an operational manual for the implementation of the strategy (para.56); prevention activities and comprehensive services for survivors of gender-based violence in Puntland (para.56); the training of police officers in Puntland on investigating and reporting on cases of gender-based violence (para.56); the training of AMISOM senior military commanders on gender issues to strengthen prevention and response capacities to conflict-related sexual violence (para.57); and the AMISOM concept of operations foreseeing the establishment of effective procedures for allegations of grave violations of human rights and humanitarian law, including sexual and gender-based violence (para.76).
Women’s participation and empowerment were addressed in the Special Representative’s calls for the enhancement of women’s role in government and public life (paras.20;97) as well as in his urging civil society organizations and women’s representatives to help resolve clan disputes (para.22); the recruitment of female police personnel in “Somaliland” (para.35); the UN’s hosting of the Women Peace and Security Open Day, where participants called for a greater role of women in politics and a recommendation that at least 30 percent of positions in the new cabinet be held by women and that commitments on gender equality be translated into action (para.52); the establishment of the Somali Women Leadership Initiative by representatives of women’s organizations to advocate for heightened participation of women in the federal cabinet as well as in Puntland elections (para.53); and the Secretary-General’s call on the federal government to place human rights at the forefront of its State-building agenda, including through the advancement of the rights and empowerment of women (para.105). In addition, the UN Gender Theme Group and the Donor Gender Theme Group agreed with the federal government of Somalia Director-General on Women, Family and Children Affairs on a road map to finalize the consultation and drafting of the National Gender Policy (para.54).
Finally, sex-disaggregated data was also provided in the context of women’s representation in political life (paras.3;4), grave violations against children (para.50), and the training of AMISOM senior military commanders on gender issues (para.57). Unfortunately, however, the first two pieces of data indicated that only 2 of the 25 women in the new federal Cabinet are women (para.3) and that only 2 of the 66 members of the Puntland Parliament are women (para.4).
Although there are considerable references to women, peace and security concerns in this report, there are still opportunities for greater inclusion of the agenda. In particular, while the report addressed the need for women’s participation generally, it could have placed more emphasis on the inclusion of women in the constitutional review and electoral processes specifically (although the participants of the Women Peace and Security Open Day did call for at least 30 percent of positions in the new cabinet to be held by women). There was still a great need to incorporate a gender analysis into SSR and DDR processes, although trainings of security personnel in gender-sensitive approaches to violence against women and girls was an encouraging development. Further, the report brought attention to the widespread cases of rape and sexual violence, but did not send an unequivocal message to perpetrators, law enforcement officials and peacekeepers that sexual violence (and other forms of gender-based violence) will not be tolerated.
This report broadly addressed many of the recommendations laid out in the most recent MAP on Somalia (March 2014), but is less effective on the specifics. For instance, there were a number of references to women’s representation in political life, but no specific mention of women’s participation in the constitutional review process or efforts to find a political solution to the ongoing armed violence (other than the Special Representative’s inclusion of civil society organizations and women’s representatives in clan dispute resolution in Beledweyne, Hiraan). There was also a great deal of attention paid to the prevention of and protection against sexual and gender-based violence in this report, but no specific mention of the Secretary-General’s zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse.
There was a fair amount of consistency from the previous report, S/2013/709, on the inclusion of women, peace and security concerns in the areas of prevention, protection, participation and broader gender mainstreaming. One area that received less attention in the current report was the impact of displacement and forced evictions upon females, with increased vulnerability to human rights abuses such as sexual violence.
The Security Council resolution dated 5 March 2014 (S/RES/2142) reaffirmed the arms embargo on Somalia, and also decided that until 25 October 2014, the arms embargo shall not apply to the delivery of weapons, ammunition or military equipment or the provision of advice, assistance or training intended solely for the development of the Security Forces of the federal government of Somalia, to provide security for the Somali people. The Council outlined the responsibility of the federal government of Somalia to ensure that weapons or military equipment are not resold, transferred to, or made available for use by any individual or entity not in the service of the Security Forces of the federal government of Somalia, and set out accompanying monitoring and reporting mechanisms.
There were no references to women, peace and security concerns.
This resolution missed the opportunity to acknowledge and emphasize the links between the proliferation of weapons and the risks this poses to violence and harm against civilians, especially women, and therefore to stress the need for the federal government of Somalia not only to ensure that weapons and ammunition are not resold, transferred to, or made available for use outside of the Security Forces, but also to insist upon a concurrent need for the protection of civilians, including women and children.
Recent MAPs on the situation in Somalia, including the most recent in March 2014, have focused on the activities of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and/or the issue of piracy off the coast of Somalia, and so are not directly relevant to the arms embargo or the lifting of the embargo for the sole use of the development of the Security Forces of the federal government of Somalia.
The previous Security Council resolution on weapons and ammunition in Somalia, S/RES/2111 (2013), unlike the current resolution, did include several references to women, peace and security (including its expression of concern at the reports of violence against women and pervasive sexual violence in Somalia), however it was also a longer and more comprehensive resolution that gave greater attention to, among other things, humanitarian issues, public financial management, and the charcoal ban.
Pursuant to SCR 2111 (2013), the report dated 11 March 2014 (S/2014/177) provided by the Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, focused on the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Somalia and on any impediments to that delivery. It focused primarily on the delivery of humanitarian assistance to affected populations of the regions of Somalia under the control or in areas of influence of Al-Shabaab. The report touched upon humanitarian needs, displacement and forced evictions, humanitarian access concerns (including the withdrawal of MSF after 22 years in the country), the security situation,the anticipated AMISOM offensive against Al-Shabaab, and risk mitigation measures taken by humanitarian agencies.
The Under-Secretary General made one reference to women, peace and security in her report, acknowledging how the anticipated AMISOM offensive against Al-Shabaab brings a high risk of increased violations against civilians, including gender-based violence (para.10).
The Under-Secretary General missed many opportunities to bring attention to women, peace and security concerns. She acknowledged the risk of gender-based violence that accompanies the AMISOM offensive, but did not call for greater levels of protection in response. She also neglected to point out the gender-specific needs of women that are displaced, forcibly evicted and without sufficient levels of humanitarian access.
The most recent MAP on the situation in Somalia, March 2014, offered recommendations to the Security Council regarding the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) that would make its agenda more comprehensive than that of the Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. Nevertheless, several of the recommendations were applicable to the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Somalia, but the Under-Secretary General did little to address those concerns. Although she acknowledged the increased risk of gender-based violence with the anticipated AMISOM offensive against Al-Shabaab, she made no corresponding call for the Council to hold the federal government of Somalia, AMISOM and UNSOM accountable to protecting women and children from sexual violence, exploitation and other forms of abuse.
Although the current report offered only one mention of women, peace and security concerns, in the form of the high risk of gender-based violence that accompanied the anticipated AMISOM offensive against Al-Shabaab, the previous report from the Under-Secretary General on humanitarian assistance in Somalia, S/2013/415, had no attention to women, peace and security. Therefore, the current report is an improvement, albeit a small one.
The SRSG and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) Mr. Nicholas Kay introduced the recent report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Somalia, S/2014/140, and briefed the Council during the meeting dated 11 March 2014 (S/PV.7132) as the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Somali National Army were prosecuting their renewed offensive against Al-Shabaab. The briefing highlighted the deteriorating security situation in Somalia, security sector reform of the Somali National Army, the new federal government, Vision 2016, the need for accelerated formation of federal States, the peaceful handover of power in Puntland, the perilous human rights situation, and a persistent humanitarian crisis especially given the renewed offensive against Al-Shabaab. The briefing concluded with several remarks from the representative of Somalia.
Although there were only three references to women, peace and security concerns in the briefing, they were all strong and balanced. The SRSG first acknowledged the work of UNSOM in advocating for greater women’s political participation in the context of the Puntland elections. He then pointed to twenty-three women’s organizations that established the Somali Women Leadership Initiative to campaign for increased political participation by women, UNSOM’s commitment to enhancing women’s participation in national decision-making, and Puntland’s new President having appointed five women to his Cabinet. Finally, in addition to women’s participation, the SRSG also conveyed his deep concern about the ongoing incidence of sexual violence in Somalia, and cited the upcoming implementation of the recommendations put forward by the United Nations Team of Experts on the Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict established under SCR 1888 (2009).
With several strong remarks on women, peace and security notwithstanding, the SRSG missed opportunities to bring greater attention to the gendered dimensions of the recent developments in Somalia, especially given the renewed offensive of AMISOM and the Somali National Army against Al-Shabaab. This entailed an exploration of women’s role in security sector reform, a protection agenda that anticipates the impact of the offensive upon civilians especially women and children, and a gender analysis of resultant assistance needs for those affected, displaced and potentially rendered inaccessible to humanitarian responders.
In response to the most recent MAP on the situation in Somalia, March 2014, this briefing touched broadly upon the calls for greater women’s political participation and acknowledged the ongoing incidence of sexual violence in Somalia. However, it did not detail the specific steps the UN will take to support women’s participation, it didn’t identify the specific areas for women’s representation other than its broad reference to political participation and national decision-making, and it didn’t cover progress made in helping to prevent, monitor, investigate and report on abuses and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law (although it did point to training on human rights, international humanitarian law and refugee law, as well as the creation of a joint working group on human rights due diligence).
The previous briefing on UNSOM and the situation in Somalia, S/PV.7078, paid similar attention to women, peace and security concerns, referencing the need for women’s participation and a concern regarding the handling of alleged rape and sexual violence cases. Therefore, there was a relative consistency to the SRSG’s remarks on women, peace and security, which encouragingly highlighted both women’s participation and protection needs, yet that same consistency also suggests a lack of progress.