Time and Topic: Covering the period from 10 June to 1 September 2015, the report covers the key developments in Iraq and provides an update on the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI).
Women, Peace and Security
In pursuant of Resolution 2210 (2015), the Secretary-General report provides an update on developments in Afghanistan and the implementation of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) mandate. The number of WPS references has increased, both in terms of number and scope, since the last report (S/2015/422), with a total of eleven references to WPS related concerns. In addition, the Observation section also makes two references to women participation. References to women center on women’s participation and the implementation of legal mechanisms, including the recently adopted National Action Plan on Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000). The report, however, still lacks analysis on gender and conflict. There are also several WPS concerns highlighted in the mandate that the report fails to provide sufficient information on.
Protection of Civilians
Between 1 May and 31 July 2015, UNAMA documented 2,985 civilian casualties (934 killed and 2,051 injured), reflecting a decrease by 13 per ent from the same period in 2014. The report suggests that the decrease may stem from the lack of electoral processes, which in 2014 were the linked to increasing casualties. The report provides a sound analysis of the security situation, identifying both the causes of civilian deaths and the responsible parties, when such information is available. However, the report provides gender-blind information on the protection of civilians. No sex disaggregated data is provided for any security sector data, including conflict-related casualties and injuries. No information is provided on incidents or the rates of conflict-related sexual and gender based violence (SGBV). The report also fails to provide any information on women’s protection concerns within the larger framework of protection of civilians, including any information on UNAMA’s mandated assistance to Afghan security forces.
Security Sector Reform (Support to Military and Police)
The report cites progress in the implementation of police women’s councils, with 23 councils established during the reporting period. As of 20 August 2015, there were 75 women police councils, 45 of which are in the Ministry of Interior directorates and Kabul police districts.The report notably does not specify the number of female police officers currently employed through the initiative thus far, how the Government of Afghanistan and existing law enforcement will work with the new entities, and/or the outcomes and activities of these councils. Resolution 2210 (2015) also acknowledges the implementation needs of the Ministry of Interior’s and Afghan National Police’s “gender integration strategy;” however, no update on the implementation is provided.
Resolution 2210 (2015) mandates the importance of an “ethnically balanced and women-inclusive Afghan security forces;” however, the report misses an opportunity to provide any information on the integration of women or engagement with women in the security sector beyond the Afghan National Police forces.
Demilitarization and Arms Management
The report cites improvised explosive devices (IEDs) as the second leading cause of civilian casualties in 2014 and 2015. In 2015, 3 percent of civilian casualties have been attributed to explosive remnants of war. Without sex disaggregated data on civilian deaths, it is unknown how many women have lost their lives as the result of the mines. The report fails to provide any analysis on the relationship between women’s protection in Afghanistan and IEDs.
The report misses an opportunity to provide an understanding of the gendered dimensions of the humanitarian situation, including with regard to refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), or on how gender-specific needs are being taken into account in the distribution of humanitarian aid. There are no references to women in the humanitarian assistance section of the report. The report information on humanitarian sector is dominated by a discussion of the increasing numbers of returnees to Afghanistan, with more than a 400 percent increase of returns from Pakistan in the same period in 2014. Information on returning women should be provided within the report and reasons for returns should be investigated, including threats to women’s human rights and incidences of sexual and gender based violence. At a minimum, the report should provide sex disaggregated data on refugees and IDPs as well as for all cited persons receiving aid. In addition, the report should advocate for gender-sensitive provision of aid and the inclusion of civil society, including women’s organization, in the design, implementation, and monitoring of humanitarian assistance.
The report cites only one specific incidents of violence against women. On 29 May, the Taliban detonated a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device outside Zabul Provincial Council building, which resulted in the death of 79 civilians, including 30 women. The report misses an opportunity to outline women’s diverse protection concerns as well as to provide sex disaggregated data on civilian casualties and injuries beyond this single incident. It is imperative that reports include a comprehensive discussion of women’s protection concerns, particularly the violation of their human rights, and identifies the perpetrators of such violence. At a minimum, the Secretary-General should advocate for women’s protection to take a top priority within the Government of Afghanistan, particularly with regards to the Taliban.
The report’s information on women’s human rights is dominated by a discussion of the launch of Afghanistan's National Action Plan on Security Resolution 1325 (2000) (2015-2022), in which the Government has pledged to increase the role of women. The report also notes the launch of the “HeforShe” campaign in June 2015, with a high level event in Kabul entitled “A Brave Man Stands for Women.” The report misses an opportunity to discuss the outcomes of these launches and how these initiatives are intended to increase women’s participation and prevent violence against women. In addition, the report misses an opportunity to call for the participation of civil society in the implementation and monitoring of the National Action Plan on Security Resolution 1325 (2000) as well as civil society engagement in the “HeforShe” campaign.
Rule of Law
In its discussion of corruption, the report notes that the Independent Joint Anti-corruption Monitoring and Evaluation COmmittee issued three “vulnerability to corruption” assessments, which included covering the payment system for persons and the registration of officials documents in the judicial system under the Elimination of the Violence Against Women Law.The report misses the opportunity to provide any information on the meaning of this assessment and/or how it will affect survivors, particularly women, who have come forward under the law. The report further notes that all persons sentenced in the murder of a 27 year old woman by a crowd in Kabul on 19 March applied for an appeal. The report fails to provide any context on the incident and.or discuss whether such incidents are indicative of larger judicial issues and cases within Afghanistan.
In regards to the elimination of torture, the report notes that in line with the National Action Plan on the Elimination of Torture, the Government of Afghanistan established an implementation working committee, which comprises a representative of civil society. The report gives no indication as to whether this representative is meant to incorporate the views of civil society in input into implementation and/or to educate civil society on implementation progress. The role of civil society in the elimination of torture is unknown from the report.
Overall, the report misses an opportunity to provide an understanding of the challenges women face in the judicial system as well as what improvements have been made to ensure their protection, including information on survivors of sexual and gender based violence access to judicial services. The report also fails to provide a status update on the implementation of the Elimination of the Violence Against Women Law, despite Security Council request of UNAMA to assist and to report on the Government of Afghanistan progress with its implementation. The mandate further acknowledges women are especially affected by violence and calls for activities not only to maintain adequate legal protection, but also to mainstream commitments and ensure women fleeing domestic violence are “able to find safe and secure refuge.” The report does not offer any analysis of the interaction between the awareness of legal provisions and changes in violence.
Political Process and Electoral Assistance
The report provides sporadic information on women in the political sector. The report notes that the second Supreme Court candidate and first woman nominee for a seat on the Supreme Court was rejected by the lower house of the National Assembly. In addition, of the additional eleven provincial governors appointed during the reporting period, two were women. The report misses an opportunity to discuss whether or not the rejection of women candidates, including for the seat on the Supreme Court, were rejected because of their sex, as well as to provide context on the challenges to women’s appointments within the government. The report also notes the Afghan People’s Dialogue on Peace, a UNAMA supported civil society initiative, requested the Government and representatives to consider the needs of women in their dialogue for cessation of hostilities. The report misses an opportunity to detail whether the Afghan People’s Dialogue on Peace made a broad statement and/or had specific asks regarding women as well as whether the call to consider was well-received by representatives of both the Government and the Taliban. Similarly, the Special Electoral Reform Commission also undertook a broad consultation process in Kabul and key provincial capitals, with included representatives from civil society, but the report again misses an opportunity to discuss the content of the consultations and/or the outcomes as well as how civil society was engaged.
Overall, the report misses an opportunity to provide a complete understanding of women in the political sector, including their challenges to political participation. The Observation section of the Secretary-General welcomes President’s Ghani’s pledge to ensure women’s participation in the peace process and to fully implement the National Action Plan on Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000). However, UNAMA is specifically mandated to assist women’s participation and monitor the gender implications of the implementation of political, peace and reconciliation processes. The report misses an opportunity to detail UNAMA’s support to Afghan women in this regard.
Future reports must advocate for the active protection of women and further engagement and monitoring by UNAMA of the situation of women. It is critical that reports mainstream gender as a cross-cutting issue, providing at a minimum sex-disaggregated data on the humanitarian, security, judicial, and political situation. The situation for women should be provided in all relevant sections of the report, including the security sector. Future reporting must include a comprehensive discussion of SGBV, with a focus on access to justice and health and reproductive services for survivors. Reporting should systematically engage women’s civil society as consultants and participants. Information on the outcome of UNAMA engagements with women and civil society should also be provided.
 S/2015/684 para. 26
 S/2015/684 para. 26
 S/2015/684 para. 26
 S/2015/684 para. 36
 S/2015/684 para. 36
 S/RES/2210 (2015) Op. 16
 S/RES/2210 OP. 24
 S/2015/684 para. 18, 25
 S/2015/684 para. 26
 S/2015/684 para. 43
 S/2015/684 para. 29
 S/2015/684 para. 29
 S/2015/684 para. 35
 S/2015/684 para. 30
 S/2015/684 para. 31
 S/RES/2227 Op. 6(e), 43
 S/RES/2145 (2014) op. 43
 S/2015/684 para. 7
 S/2015/684 para. 7
 S/2015/684 para. 13
 S/2015/684 para. 10
 S/2015/684 para. 59
 S/RES/2210 OP. 16