Report of the Secretary-General on South Sudan

Wednesday, April 29, 2015
S. Sudan
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence
Security Council Agenda Geographical Topic: 
South Sudan
Document PDF: 

Report of the Secretary-General on South Sudan

Code: S/2015/296

Period of Time and Topic: Implementation of UNMISS’s mandate from 11 February to 13 April 2015

Women, Peace and Security

It is important to note that reporting on UNMISS is generally stronger than reporting from other peacekeeping missions due to the inclusion of more analysis and information on issues related to the entire spectrum of women, peace and security issues. The strong reporting should be continued in future reports, and efforts of UNMISS staff supported.

The report is concentrated primarily on women’s protection concerns, specifically sexual and gender-based violence. The report notes that 80% of refugees arriving in Yida from February through April are women and children.[1] In the protection of civilians sites, sexual, gender-based and domestic violence, including the exploitation of young girls and women, by male internally displaced persons was a great concern.[2] In response, UNMISS streamlines referral pathways with humanitarian partners to provide efficient emergency response services to survivors of sexual, gender-based and domestic violence.[3] UNMISS and UN-Women additionally work on the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), including training at four protection of civilians sites for community watch groups and leaders to respond to incidents of early or forced marriage, sexual and gender-based violence, discrimination and sexual assault; establishing networks of male advocates in all 10 States of South Sudan; and providing support for the national police special protection units to improve response to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence through UNDP.[4] After the October signing of the joint communiqué to address conflict-related sexual violence between the government of South Sudan and the UN, the Joint-Technical Working Group was formed from national institutions, the UN, and civil society organizations to implement the communiqué and established five task forces.[5] In December and January, UNMISS investigated incidents of sexual and gender-based violence.[6]

The report does not go into much detail on women’s participation, providing largely descriptive references to events or activities. Positively, the report references that the UNMISS civil affairs teams holds meetings with women across the country, including in Opposition-held territory, to identify conflict threats and mitigation measures.[7] Further, UN Mine Action Service provides risk education to 8,709 women.[8] The report also notes that the National Action Plan for the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) is not yet launched.[9]

The report also notes reports, some verified, of sexual violence against children, which include some sex-disaggregated data.[10] UNMISS conducts mandatory training in accordance with the zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse and risk assessment activities aimed at prevention, and an outreach and sensitization campaign on UN standards of conduct.[11]

References in Need of Improvement

In regard to women’s protection, the report’s consideration of sexual and gender-based violence in and outside of the protection of civilians sites could be stronger if it included a broader consideration of the topic, including men and boys who are survivors of sexual violence crimes, by including more detailed information on the gaps in UNMISS’s protection strategy in addition to its next steps to address them.[12] The references to the joint communiqué and the actions to implement it could be stronger by including time-bound commitments to respond to sexual violence and ways in which the government is implementing resolutions 1960 (2010) and 2106 (2013) in addition to next steps.[13] The report, additionally, should consistently refer to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence instead of victims. [2] Furthermore, the report could be stronger if it considered UNMISS’s effort to ensure accountability for sexual exploitation and abuse in addition to its pre-deployment training.[14]

The references to women’s participation could be much stronger with more detail to better report on the context and to better reflect women’s human rights concerns. When the UNMISS civil affairs teams meets with women in support of local conflict resolution efforts, the report should specify which women are involved in the meetings, if women’s civil society is included, which meetings in which locations they participate in, if the meetings are held at times that women can attend, if their participation is meaningful, and if women have any influence in the design and implementation of the meetings to include women’s human rights concerns in peace processes.[15] The information on the work of UNMISS and UN-Women on implementing resolution 1325 (2000) could be stronger if it included more information, including challenges and next steps. The report should detail women’s and women’s civil society organizations’ participation in the design and implementation of the training for community watch groups, the establishment of male advocates, and support for the national police to ensure women’s human rights are promoted and women’s protection concerns are taken into consideration.[16] Furthermore, the Mine Service Action’s risk education should include reporting on the differentiated impacts of explosives on women, men, girls and boys in addition to women’s and women’s civil society organizations’ participation in the design and implementation of the education programs to ensure the program meets the needs of women. The report could also be stronger if it consistently used sex-disaggregated data as part of reporting on the broader context of the situation and its impact on women.

Missed Opportunities

The report misses most of the opportunities in resolution 2187 (2014) to provide information on UNMISS’s mandate of women’s protection. The report fails to mention UNMISS’s work on specific protection of women, including through the deployment and use of Women’s Protection Advisors to better protect women’s human rights.[17] The report does not include the acceleration of implementation of UNMISS’s monitoring, analysis and reporting arrangements on conflict-related sexual violence in its reporting on violations and abuses against women to ensure women’s protection needs are integrated into UNMISS’s response.[18] The report also does not consider ensuring survivors of sexual violence have equal protection under the law and equal respect for women and girls in judicial processes to protect their rights.[19]

The report misses many opportunities to include women’s participation as per resolution 2187 (2014). It fails to include the full and effective participation of women in an inclusive national dialogue to integrate women’s human rights concerns at all levels.[20] It also misses the opportunity to report on women’s full and effective participation at all levels in the implementation of agreements, and prevention and resolution of conflict.[21] The report should include gaps and next steps to ensure women’s full and effective representation and leadership in all conflict resolution and peacebuilding efforts through supporting women’s civil society organizations to reflect women’s concerns and ensuring gender expertise in peace talks to incorporate the protection of women’s human rights.[22] The report also misses the opportunity to consider women’s participation in UNMISS through increasing the number of women deployed and including gender expertise and training in all missions to include a gender lens in the mission.[23]

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.


[1] S/2015/296, para. 25

[2] S/2015/296, para. 31

[3] S/2015/296, para. 31

[4] S/2015/296, para. 37

[5] S/2015/296, para. 44

[6] S/2015/296, para. 40

[7] S/2015/296, para. 29

[8] S/2015/296, para. 34

[9] S/2015/296, para. 37

[10] S/2015/296, para. 41

[11] S/2015/296, para. 55

[12] Resolution 2187 (2014), OP 4(b)(ii)

[13] Resolution 2187 (2014), OP 20

[14] Resolution 2187 (2014), OP 13

[15] Resolution 2187 (2014), OP 22

[16] Resolution 2187 (2014), OP 22

[17] Resolution 2187 (2014), OP 4(a)(i), 4(a)(v),

[18] Resolution 2187 (2014), OP 4(b)(ii)

[19] Resolution 2187 (2014), OP 21

[20] Resolution 2187 (2014), OP 2

[21] Resolution 2187 (2014), OP 22

[22] Resolution 2187 (2014), OP 22

[23] Resolution 2187 (2014), OP 22