The Secretary-General’s report to the Security Council, dated 3 March 2014 (S/2014/142), on the Central African Republic was issued pursuant to resolution 2127 (2013).
The report of the Secretary-General on the Central African Republic submitted pursuant to paragraph 48 of Security Council resolution 2127 (2013), dated 3 March 2014, discussed the current situation in the Central African Republic in regards to the possible establishment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation. The report was divided into the following sections: Introduction; Major Developments; International security response; Conditions for the United Nations peacekeeping operation to operate successfully; Recommendations for the possible transformation of the African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic into a United Nations peacekeeping operation; and Observations. The report recommended the deployment of a United Nations multidimensional peacekeeping operation in the Central African Republic, and it offered recommendations in regards to its possible mandate and tasks.
Women, Peace and Security issues were discussed on several occasions, mostly in relation to sexual violence (paras.4; 8; 14; 82), with particular references regarding the need for gender expertise (para.63) and the deployment of Women Protection Advisers (para.82) and military observers including female officers (para.66). Additionally, the report recognized the existence of violations that included sexual violence affecting civilians generally (para.4) and also discussed specific attacks and targeting of remaining members, associates, perceived supporters and members of Muslim civilian communities (para.8). Furthermore, the report mentioned that vulnerable groups, notably women, children and the elderly, continued to be affected disproportionately, and it discussed reports of sexual violence perpetrated by armed men as well as incidents of forced marriage, abduction of women, and sexual slavery (para.14). The report mentioned the election of Catherine Samba-Panza as the new Head of State of the Transition, which represented the participation of at least one woman in political affairs though it did not make any reference to the fact that she was a woman (para.19). It also referenced the importance of female officers’ participation as military observers and their role as liaisons with local communities (para.66). Moreover, the report noted the need for gender expertise and human rights monitoring and reporting when it came to the protection of civilians (para.63). Even though there was no explicit mention of gender, the report mentioned that the mission would require a strong human rights component in the fight against impunity, accountability and transitional justice (para.80). The report also addressed the importance of human rights deployments to high-risk areas to protect civilians and calls for programs to restore the capacities of civil society to engage on human rights promotion and protection (para.81).
Despite the several previously mentioned women, peace and security references, there were a number of missed opportunities where a gender perspective was lacking, including the situation of civilians who were fleeing or seeking to flee, refugees and displaced; the delivery and access of humanitarian assistance; armed groups’ composition; provision of infrastructure and basic social services; mine action; and the socioeconomic situation including issues related to food security and natural resource management. Additionally, the following aspects of the report were neglecting a gender component, particularly in terms of discussing women’s full participation in: future elections and rebuilding of the government; reconstruction of the justice system and law and order institutions; disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR); consultation with women’s organizations; national security sector reform (SSR); and local tension and conflict resolution, mediation and reconciliation efforts. Finally, there was no data disaggregated by sex in the report including in regards to refugees, IDPs, victims of violations, survivors of sexual violence and deaths of civilians.
In relation to the recommendations put forth in the March 2014 MAP, this report was adequate though it missed a couple of points. The MAP called for support for the deployment of Gender Advisers, Women Protection Advisers, and Child Protection Advisers to focus on violations and abuses committed against women and children, including all forms of sexual violence in armed conflict as stated in SCR 2121 (2013) which was included in the report. Furthermore, the MAP mentioned that the Council should insist on accountability for atrocities committed by all armed groups and security forces operating in the country, and reinforce efforts to ensure justice systems are re-established, with investigations and prosecutions conducted according to international standards which was also included in the report. However, discussion of medical and psychosocial services being available as per SCR 2127 (2013) was absent from the report.
Although this report addressed more women, peace and security concerns in comparison to the previous report (S/2013/677) dated 15 November 2013, they both failed at including a gender perspective in regards to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR); the humanitarian situation and humanitarian access, particularly with regard to internal displacement, the flow of small arms and light weapons (including cross-border), and women’s participation in political and peacebuilding processes. The previous report addressed women, peace and security concerns on three occasions, all of them related to sexual violence including: the assessment mission hearing testimonies of violations against civilians including SGBV in regards to impunity, the protection of human rights including sexual violence, and training on prevention of sexual violence for troops. The current report improved by discussing the required presence of female officers and the need to deploy Women and Children Protection Advisers as well as the mentioning of the requisite of gender expertise when it came to the protection of civilians.
Security Council’s 7128th meeting on 6 March 2014 (S/PV.7128) focused on the situation in the Central African Republic and was devoted to the consideration of the report of the Secretary-General pursuant paragraph 48 of resolution 2127 (2013).
During this meeting that took place on 6 March 2014, the Security Council met to discuss the latest report of the Secretary-General (S/2014/142). The Council heard statements from the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, the Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Permanent Observer of the African Union and the Representative of the Central African Republic. Speakers discussed the establishment of a possible UN peacekeeping operation.
There were no meaningful references to the women, peace and security agenda, except for two brief references when the representative of the Central African Republic first made use of inclusive language, when he addressed the impact of conflict on the living conditions of women IDPs, and later on when he discussed girls’ protection concerns in regards to sexual violence.
Missed opportunities to address women, peace and security issues included the discussion of gender in regards to: humanitarian assistance and human rights violations; internally displaced persons and refugees as well as people who are fleeing; and access to basic services. The speakers also missed an opportunity to discuss women, peace and security issues in connection to women’s political participation in the Transitional Government and the expected elections. They also missed a chance to discuss women’s participation in mediation and reconciliation efforts as well as in national efforts towards disarmament, demobilization and reintegration and security sector reform. Furthermore, there was no sex-disaggregated data throughout the speakers’ statements.
In relation to the recommendations set forth in the March 2014 MAP, this meeting’s record was inadequate. The MAP called for the deployment of Gender Advisers, Women Protection Advisers and Child Protection Advisers to focus on violations and abuses committed against women and children, including all forms of sexual violence in armed conflict as stated in SCR 2121 (2013), and ensuring that medical and psychosocial services are available and accessible as per SCR 2127 (2013). The MAP also stated that the Council should insist on accountability for atrocities committed by all armed groups and security forces operating in the country and reinforce efforts to ensure justice systems are re-established, with investigations and prosecutions conducted according to international standards.
Even though this meeting was a briefing, the speakers failed to discuss women, peace and security issues or display any gender analysis in their remarks with the exception of the representative of the Central African Republic who briefly mentioned sexual violence (rape) against girls.
The failure to address women, peace and security issues in this current meeting took a step back from the 7114th meeting that took place on 20 February 2014 (S/PV.7114) where women, peace and security issues were referenced on a number of occasions throughout the briefing by each of the speakers, addressing protection concerns in particular, with one reference made to women in leadership. Specifically, during the previous meeting, seven references were made in regards to various aspects of sexual violence in conflict.