Friday, April 10, 2015
Western Sahara
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Peace Processes
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence
Security Council Agenda Geographical Topic: 
Western Sahara
Document PDF: 

Report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara (MINURSO’s mandate implementation and situation report from 10 April 2014)

Code: S/2015/246

Period of time and topic: MINURSO’s mandate implementation and situation report from 10 April 2014

Women, Peace and Security

The report was focused on women’s protection and included references to women receiving help from UNHCR. The report mentioned women and children as among those Moroccan law enforcement used excessive force against when breaking up demonstrations and gatherings (S/2015/246 para. 56). Additionally, UNHCR provided pregnant and lactating women in refugee camps with a health program to reduce malnutrition in children under five (S/2015/246 para. 43). Similarly, the report noted UNHCR distributed hygiene kits to women and girls (S/2015/246 para. 46). UNHCR also worked with service providers to ensure referral and response services for sexual and gender-based violence were available and included legal, medical and psychosocial support (S/2015/246 para. 47).

The report, additionally, included sex-disaggregated data on female personnel in MINURSO (S/2015/246 para. 23).

References in Need of Improvement

Overall, the references to gender were with regard to providing services and resources for women and could have been improved by including women’s empowerment. Displaced women and women’s civil society organizations should have been involved in the design of not only refugee camps but also any processes (S/2015/246 paras. 43, 46). For example, displaced women should have been consulted in the design and implementation of the programs that distributed hygiene kits, to ensure they met women’s needs, and aimed to reduce childhood malnutrition, to ensure the assistance addresses women’s concerns, incorporated a gender lens and were accessible for the women needing those services (S/2015/246 paras. 43, 46). Women and women’s civil society organizations also should have been involved in all service provision for survivors of SGBV to ensure services were survivor-centered, met survivors’ needs and protected and promoted their human rights (S/2015/246 para. 47).

In regard to women’s protection, the report could have outlined how the suppression of demonstrations by security forces differentially impacted all genders and if it impacted women’s right to participate in public gatherings (S/2015/246 para. 56).

Furthermore, the report could have been improved by not equating women and children or girls, to address their unique needs and concerns (S/2015/246 paras. 46, 56).

Missed Opportunities

Given that resolution 2152 (2014) failed to include any aspects of the women, peace and security agenda other than sexual exploitation and abuse, the report did not miss any opportunities to fulfill its WPS mandate or incorporate a gender lens into MINURSO’s work or reporting on the situation in Western Sahara (S/RES/2152 (2014) OP. 13).

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.