Security Council resolution 2121 (2013) was unanimously adopted by the Council on 10 October 2013 (S/PV.7042), reinforcing and updating the mandate of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in CAR (BINUCA).
Against a backdrop of escalating violence, the resolution expressed serious concern regarding the total breakdown of law and order as well as violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in CAR. SCR 2121 (2013) also updated the mandate of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA) in five key areas: the political transition process; support for conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance; support for stabilization of the security situation, including disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR); promotion and protection of human rights; and the coordination of international actors. The resolution also reiterated its request to the Secretary-General to provide a report by 31 December 2013.
Women, peace and security references were made on four occasions, including two preambular references and two operative references. Three of the four references specifically addressed sexual violence in conflict, and women’s participation was not expressly mentioned in the resolution. The first preambular reference expressed serious concern over the violation of international humanitarian law and widespread human rights violations, including sexual violence against women and children, while the second recalled all thematic resolutions on women, peace and security, as well as those on the protection of civilians and children and armed conflict. The first operative reference mandated BINUCA to deploy Women Protection Advisers (WPAs) to monitor, help investigate and report to the Council on violations committed against women (OP.10(d)). The second operative reference also addressed sexual violence calling on parties to armed conflict to issue orders against sexual violence, and called for accountability as well as access to services for victims (OP.16).
These references notwithstanding, the resolution nevertheless missed a number of opportunities to provide a gender analysis specifically of the following issues: the implementation of the Libreville Agreement of 11 January 2013 (OP.1); the implementation of transitional arrangements, including preparations for forthcoming elections (OP.3); disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DRR) and security sector reform (SSR)(OPs.8; 8(c);17); the restoration of constitutional order and judicial sector reform (OP.8(a);10(d)); conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance (OP.8(b)); the illicit transfer of small arms and light weapons (OP.18); as well as reporting by the Secretary-General, including on the performance and effectiveness of BINUCA (OP.23).
The October 2013 NGOWG MAP recommendations called on the Council to urgently expand BINUCA’s mandate to: monitor, investigate and report publicly on international human rights violations; address women’s protection concerns; remove barriers to women’s participation, particularly by supporting local civil society; as well as to resume service provision. The MAP further stated that the Council should ensure adequate resources and training both for BINUCA and AFISM-CAR/MISCA to adequately protect civilians. The resolution reflected the MAP recommendations to a minimal degree, as the focus was exclusively on sexual violence in conflict, and it was not especially strong on responses thereto. Whilst the resolution called for access to services and accountability, it did not address ensuring the mobilization of adequate resourcing to this end. The resolution also neglected to address women’s participation, including women’s civil society organizations, in efforts towards conflict resolution, peacebuilding and the planning of forthcoming elections in CAR.
With respect to women, peace and security, SCR 2121 did not represent a significant change from resolution 2088 (2013). Both resolutions principally addressed sexual and gender-based violence, although SCR 2088 included preambular references emphasizing the role of women in peacebuilding. Although the language could have been stronger, SCR 2121 did include references to the need to facilitate access to services for survivors of sexual violence, a dimension that was not included in SCR 2088.
Security Council 7042th meeting on 10 October 2013 (S/PV.7042) focused on the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR).
The Council met on 10 October 2013 to discuss the situation in the Central African Republic and unanimously adopted Security Council resolution 2121 (2013). Following the unanimous adoption of the resolution, Council Members heard a statement from the representative from Central African Republic. Key issues addressed in the statement centered on the situation in CAR and its implications for the conflict. Overall, women, peace and security concerns were not addressed in any comprehensive or concrete way, although references were made in regards to the protection of civilians, including women and children.
In their statement, CAR made three references relevant to women, peace and security with little specificity and substance. The first two references appeared in the same paragraph in which the speaker mentioned the protection of civilians, including children and women, and mentioned the issue of rape within the broader human rights situation. The third reference noted that the adoption of resolution 2121 (2013) restores hope to the CAR population, including its women and children.
It is unfortunate that the representative missed several opportunities to incorporate women, peace and security concerns in his statement. In particular, CAR missed an opportunity to reference gender issues with respect to the electoral process, the restoration of constitutional law, and the strengthening of the mandate and capacity of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA).
Recognizing that the statement made by CAR in the meeting was relatively short, it was nevertheless unfortunate that several opportunities were missed to reference gender issues. The NGOWG MAP recommendations for October 2013 called for the expansion of the BINUCA mandate with necessary resources to allow for the monitoring, investigating and reporting on abuses and violations of international human rights or humanitarian law committed in the country. Whilst the deployment of Women Protection Advisers (WPAs) was included in resolution 2121, adopted in the meeting, it was unfortunate that this was not reflected in the meeting. Furthermore, the MAP called for the Council to support local civil society efforts to develop coherent strategies to promote women’s political participation in conflict resolution efforts. It was unfortunate that no reference was made in the meeting in relation to women’s civil society organizations or on women’s political participation.
This meeting took a step back from meeting S/PV.7017 from 14 August 2013 which contained several references to SGBV and women’s political participation.