Period of time and topic: Developments in Afghanistan from 9 December 2014 to 27 February 2015.
Report S/2015/151 provides information on recent developments concerning the United Nations work in Afghanistan. The women, peace and security agenda is referenced in regards to women’s concerns about higher political participation, promotion of the right to vote, protection against violence, suspension of illegal arresting practice, and security sector reform.
Women’s political participation is discussed in regards to Government of Afghanistan’s treatment of female candidates. In the process of electing candidates to senior positions from the lower house of the National Assembly, the only woman candidate up for consideration was rejected (S/2015/151, para. 5). Providing this information, the report shows how the Government of Afghanistan has to make improvements in including women in high level politics. Failing to do so hindered the Government of Afghanistan from fully recognizing women’s rights to political participation.
While women were not elected to higher political office, report S/2015/151 did point out that women were engaged in the Afghan-owned peace process. Meeting with women members of the Provincial Peace Committee, the head of the joint secretariat of the High Peace Council displayed a significant willingness to consult with women on their opinions and recommendations on the best manner in which to progress efforts to peace in the provinces (S/2015/151, para. 10). By consulting with women elected to this community based council the Afghan peace process proved that women would be meaningfully included and their concerns would be integrated.
Working with the Independent Election Commission, UNAMA worked towards the integration of gender concerns in the 2014 election process. Due to UNAMA’s monitoring of the election process, women’s participation increased and the 20 percent quota set by the Provincial Council for representation of women was achieved. Drawing attention to UNAMA’s work in the 2014 election process as a metric for the Government of Afghanistan’s progress on governance and institution-building, the report emphasized that gender concerns were meaningfully integrated in prior election processes. Therefore, a precedent was set for further integration of gender concerns in future election processes.
Supporting the implementation of the Elimination of Violence Against Women law, UNAMA coordinated numerous events coinciding with the Government of Afghanistan’s publication of of a report on the law (S/2015/151, para. 25). Coincidentally the report showed an increased reporting of cases of violence against women. Bringing attention to this development, the report displayed that UNAMA did indeed promote the protection of women. Furthermore, the report’s increased accounting of violence against women proved the Government of Afghanistan’s efforts to promote women’s rights to protection from violence had resulted in greater reporting.
Due to the Presidential decree on the commutation and amnesty of prisoner, the Government of Afghanistan released 44 female prisoners 9S/2015/151, para. 26). By releasing these women, originally arrested for “moral crimes”, the report showed that the judicial system had shown greater adherence to proper arresting and detainment procedure. As stated by the report, the detainment of individuals on the ground of “moral crimes” was an illegal practice practiced in Afghanistan.
In order to advance women throughout the security sector, the Government of Afghanistan implemented a country-wide expansion, affecting 17 provinces, of the Police Women Councils pilot program 9S/2015/151, para. 33). By reporting on the implementation of this community based policing which emphasizes the integration of women, S/2015/151 highlights that the Government of Afghanistan made significant steps towards meaningfully integrating women’s concerns in security sector reform.
References in Need of Improvement Section
While the report S/2015/151 references many concerns regarding women’s participation, protection, and promotion interests, the report could have been improved by providing more detailed information regarding women’s role in security sector.
In the report’s discussion of women’s roles in security sector reform, the Police Women's Council is introduced. While the report does describe the expansion of the program and the involvement of women on the council, no details are provided as to the design of the program and whether women’s civil society is involved. Given the omission of how the program was designed the report fails to inform as to whether they integrate women’s concerns and whether they were designed by women. Also, while the program mentioned the involvement of civil society, the report does not detail whether women’s civil society was involved.
Missed Opportunities Section
Report S/2015/151 missed opportunities to provide detailed information involving women’s concerns regarding security incidents, humanitarian assistance, and narcotics.
While the report gave details as to how many security incidents occur, there were no mentions as to whether these incidents involved women. Given that the report did provide information on child specific deaths, the mission proved it has the capability in reporting the specifics of deaths regarding age then there must have been the same ability to report the gender of those targeted.
While the report does explicitly state that IDPs were given basic services, such as food and fuel, there was no indication that gender specific services were administered. It should have been imperative that gender specific services, for example: reproductive services, are provided in humanitarian settings. Given the lack of information provided on whether gender specific services were operationalized, the report failed to verify whether the mission had integrated women’s concerns in its humanitarian activities.
Ideal Asks for WPS Transformation Section
The report should be improved with an explicit reference to and ideally an analysis of all genders, emphasizing diverse masculinities and femininities, including the dynamics between and amongst 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.