Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Mali

Friday, March 27, 2015
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Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Mali

Document Title: Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Mali

Code: S/2015/219

Period of Time and Topic: Implementation of MINUSMA’s mandate and implementation of resolution 2164 (2014) from 17 December 2014 to 19 March 2015

Women, Peace and Security

The report only marginally referenced the women, peace and security agenda, however, those mentions were balanced between participation and protection. MINUSMA organized a separate workshop for women to inform them about the draft peace agreement, three women were appointed to government ministerial positions, and the Peacebuilding Fund included projects in the support of women (paras. 4, 11, 46). The report also included information that one woman was shot, four cases of sexual violence against children occurred, and the lack of action taken to further the 80 cases of sexual violence hindered their processing in the justice system (paras. 34, 38, 40).

References in Need of Improvement

All of the references to women’s protection concerns could have been improved upon by being more detailed and providing more information. Although the report included some information on violations against women and children, it could have been much stronger by including gender as a cross-cutting issue and reporting on the larger context of the situation in Mali and the conflict’s impact on women (Resolution 2164 (2014), OP 15). The report’s consideration of sexual violence could have been much stronger if it included information on how MINUSMA is meeting the needs of survivors, and MINUSMA’s next steps to consistently monitor, investigate and report on violations against women, including sexual violence in conflict, to ensure women’s human rights are being protected and promoted by the mission (Resolution 2164 (2014), OPs 13(a)(iii), 13(c)(vi)).

On women’s participation, the report could have been much stronger by including more comprehensive information. There should have been additional information on the three women appointed as ministers and what MINUSMA did to support their appointment to ensure their participation in government institution building is full and meaningful, including if they were qualified, how they were selected, what posts they now hold, and whether they have enough power to make a difference (Resolution 2164 (2014), OP 15). The report also should have gone into detail on the MINUSMA workshop for women, including why women had a separate workshop, if they were given training, how women and women’s civil society organizations were participating in the draft peace agreement, or which women were chosen to participate to better incorporate women’s human rights concerns into not only the workshop but also the draft peace agreement (Resolution 2164 (2014), OP 13(b)(ii), 15). Information on the Peacebuilding Fund had similar issues and should have been much more detailed in regards to how much funding would be allocated for women, who would design the women’s projects, how women and women’s civil society will participate in all steps and levels of the projects and which women would participate in the projects to ensure women's equal access to economic opportunities and capacity-building (Resolution 2164 (2014), OP 15).

Missed Opportunities

The report missed numerous opportunities to respond to MINUSMA’s mandate in resolution 2164 (2014) both in women’s protection and participation as in the previous report. There was no discussion of MINUSMA fulfilling its mandate to protect women, including Women Protection Advisors and sexual violence, in any of the discussions on protecting civilians to prevent violations against women and promote their human rights (Resolution 2164 (2014), OPs 13(a)(iii), 13(c)(vi), 16). The report failed to link violations against women and small arms and light weapons as part of MINUSMA’s protection of civilians work to prevent sexual and gender-based violence (Resolution 2164 (2014), OP 32).

When reporting on women’s participation, the report failed to incorporate gender as a cross-cutting issue and incorporate all previous WPS resolutions (Resolution 2164 (2014), OP 15, 29). The report did not include any information on how MINUSMA is enhancing the negotiation capacity of women and women’s civil society groups and promoting their participation to anticipate, prevent, mitigate and resolve conflict at all levels to ensure their concerns and rights are included in any conflict resolution processes, including gaps, challenges and next steps for MINUSMA (Resolution 2164 (2014), OP 13(b)(ii)). Nor did the report discuss supporting the full and effective participation, involvement and representation of women at all levels and at an early stage in SSR, DDR, and national political, reconciliation, and election processes throughout the entire report to ensure the protection of women and their rights, and to take into consideration the differential impact of conflict on women (Resolution 2164 (2014), OP 15).

Ideal Asks for WPS Transformation

The report should be improved with an explicit reference to and analysis of all genders, emphasizing diverse masculinities and femininities, including the dynamics between and among genders as well as the power relations and hierarchies at play, and the intersection of gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, class, and age across all political, peace, and security processes.