Period of Time and Topic: Report covers the conflict from 1 to 31 December 2014
Women, Peace and Security
In the Secretary General’s report on the conflict in Syria, pursuant to resolutions 2139 (2014) and 2165 (2014), the Secretary-General focused on the violence committed on all sides in the ongoing conflict as well as the humanitarian constraints within the country, providing some sex disaggregated data on the deaths of women, and women’s access constraints to health care. However, the report hardly mentions women, with only two references on women’s experiences in the conflict included. The Secretary-General specified that women have been killed by Government forces, notably through aerial bombardments and direct fire on civilians. In addition, 27,000 “women and children” accessed health care through UNICEF’s mobile clinics during the reporting period. These minimal references do not provide an adequate picture of the experience of women in the ongoing conflict.
References in Need of Improvement
In the interest of accurately reporting on the impact of the conflict on all parties, the report would benefit from gender analysis that includes sex-disaggregated data wherever such data is available, especially for the many references to civilian casualties throughout the report. In addition, specifying the number of women able to access services, rather than, grouping all civilians together. For instance, the report notes “40,600 people” received services from UNFPA; however, giving the gender breakdown of those receiving such services would give a better understanding of those affected by conflict and the impacts. Further, several times throughout the report references to women were coupled with “women and children.” In doing so, the impact of the conflict on women is seen as linked to that on children, serving to diminish the recognition of each population’s unique needs and potentially having an infantilizing effect on the reference to women.
The report misses many opportunities to uphold the women, peace and security agenda, , as women’s unique experiences in conflict are almost entirely absent . Understanding women’s experiences begins with gathering relevant data on women in conflict. The report misses an important opportunity to provide necessary sex disaggregated data to determine the situation of women in the conflict.
In regards to women’s participation, the report misses an opportunity to ensure consultations with women’s civil society organizations, women human rights defenders, and individual women and to incorporate findings and evidence . Each reference to peace processes is a missed opportunity to report on women’s involvement in processes, and to call for women’s increased participation. The report references the need for an “all-inclusive national political process,” but fails to explicitly mention women under the umbrella of “all-inclusive.”
In addition, the report covers the abusive practices of Government forces and non-state actors, including cutting off basic services to besieged areas as a tactic of war; however, the Secretary-General misses the opportunity to report on the number of women in besieged areas, and how the cutting off electricity, water, and aid shipments affects their livelihoods. In addition, the report highlights the Government’s practice of detaining individuals for expressing dissent, but misses an opportunity to discuss the number of women detainees and the affect of the threat of detainment on women’s human rights defenders, including the silencing of women in political processes.
In regards to women’s protection, there is no mention of conflict related sexual and gender-based violence, perpetrated , by both state and non-state actors. The report fails to address the unique protection needs of IDP women. Further, the report misses the opportunity to draw links between the rise of violent extremism in Syria, and the escalation of violence against Syrian women, as a result of both negotiating with extremists and experiencing abductions and forced marriages.
Ideal Asks for WPS Transformation
The report should include explicit references to and analysis of all gendered concerns within the ongoing conflict in Syria, and require substantive engagment with women and women’s organizations in order to better understand the impact of the conflict on women, from all sides. This includes sex and age disaggregated data, information on women’s participation in conflict resolution and peace processes, and women’s experiences in expressing political dissent. In doing so, the report will also pave the way for the Council to better incorporate gender concerns in any forthcoming calls to actions.
 S/2015/48 para 4 and 6.
 S/2015/48 para 23.
 S/2015/48 para 37.
 S/2015/48 para 6.
 S/2015/48 para 23.
 S/2015/48 para 6 and 37.
 S/2015/48 para 17 and 18.