The Council issued a Presidential Statement on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) S/PRST/2013/17 on 14 November 2013. The Security Council issued a presidential statement (S/PRST/2013/17) on 14 November 2013 (S/PV.7058) addressing the situation in the DRC. The presidential statement welcomes the announcement by the M23 to end its rebellion and calls for a conclusion and implementation of a “final, comprehensive and agreed outcome” inline with the Kampala talks. Particularly, the statement calls for the disarmament and demobilization of the M23 and accountability for human rights abuses with the assistance of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) in accordance with SCR 2098 (2013). The statement underscores the continued threat of the FDLR and reiterates the importance of neutralizing the FDLR and all armed groups pursuant to SCR 2098 (2013). Further, the statement condemns continued violence against civilians and human rights abuses by all armed groups and calls for perpetrators to be held accountable.
Additionally, the statement calls on all parties to allow safe and unhindered access to humanitarian aid, noting the massive displaced population; and calls for the conductive voluntary return and reintegration of refugees. Finally, the statement calls on all stakeholders to address the root causes of the conflict in eastern DRC reflecting the commitments made under the Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) framework for the DRC and Great Lakes Region.
Women, peace and security issues are referenced in regards to both women’s protection and participation concerns. In regards to women’s protection concerns, the statement condemns all crimes of sexual and genderbased violence and calls for accountability for perpetrators. The statement explicitly notes that perpetrators of these crimes should not be eligible for integration into the FARDC or other elements of the state security forces; also calls for the provision of necessary services to survivors. Significantly, the statement calls for all parties to “ensure equal and full inclusion of women” in all stages of conflict resolution, reconstruction, and peacebuilding inline with the 11 July 2013 Bujumbura
Declaration to ensure benchmarks, indicators and followup measures for the PSC Framework are gendersensitive. Finally, the statement urges the government of the DRC to expedite the investigation of the November 2012 mass rapes committed by elements of FARDC in Minova and for perpetrators to be held accountable.
The statement misses several key opportunities to incorporate a gender perspective relating to women’s protection concerns and women’s participation in security processes. First, gendersensitivity in the access and delivery of humanitarian aid for female civilians, including the displaced as well as in the return and reintegration process for female refugees remains absent from the statement. Further, a gender lens is not included in discussion of demobilization efforts, particularly DRR or DDRR, missing a significant opportunity to consider the gender specific needs of female excombatants.
In relation to the recommendations to put forth in the September 2013 MAP the PRST’s record is adequate. The MAP calls for women’s participation and consideration in all political, peace and reconciliation efforts; reporting on targeted attacks against women and the impact of the humanitarian situation on women and girls; for consultation with women’s human rights organizations; for MONUSCO to ensure intelligence data is available to serve as an early warning signal ensure civilian protection, including for women and girls; and for intervention brigade to uphold its civilian protection mandate pursuant to SCR 2098 (2013).
The PRST strongly calls for women’s participation in all areas of conflict resolution, reconstruction and peacebuilding, and also calls for gender considerations in all aspects of the PSC. Protection against sexual and genderbased violence and services for survivors are explicitly articulated in the statement as well. The PRST could improve by explicitly calling for information on targeted attacks on women; by calling on MONUSCO to share intelligence data to best protect civilians against violence; for gender in all training and operations of the intervention brigade. Further, gender is not integrated in the access and delivery of humanitarian aid; in displacement; and in refugee return and reintegration.
The current PRST of 14 November 2013 (S/PRST/2013/17) is on par with the previous PRST of 25 July 2013 (S/PRST/2013/11). Significantly, both PRSTs call for women’s participation in conflict resolution and all peacebuilding efforts as well as prevention; response and accountability for crimes of sexual and genderbased violence. The previous PRST incorporates gender when discussing demobilization, however the current PRST is devoid of this language. Additionally, neither PRST considers gender in regards to the humanitarian situation including displacement, refugee return and displace, and in the access and delivery of humanitarian aid.