Report of the Secretary General on the Situation in Mali (S/2015/732).

Tuesday, September 22, 2015
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Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Mali (S/2015/732).

Code: S/2015/732

Period of Time and Topic: Covering the period from 17 December 2014 to 19 March 2015, the report covers the implementation of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) mandate.

Women, Peace and Security

In pursuant of Resolution 2227 (2015), the Secretary-General report provides an update on developments in Mali and the implementation of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) mandate. The number of WPS references has increased, both in terms of number and scope, since the last report (S/2015/426), with a total of ten references to WPS related concerns. In addition, the Observation section also makes one references to women participation. References to women are balanced between protection and participation. However, the report does not mention resolution 1325 (2000) and 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

The report provides no information on women’s protection,[1] despite MINUSMA direct mandate to protect women.[2] The only references to women notes the participation of 241 women in MINUSMA’s 18 facilitated intercommunal dialogues.[3] However, the report misses an opportunity to provide any information on the outcomes of these dialogues and detail whether women’s protection was discussed. Similarly, the report misses an opportunity to provide any sex-disaggregate figures civilian casualties, injuries and kidnappings to better show the impact of the conflict on different genders and highlight the unique protection needs of women, as called for in the mandate.[4] 

Support to Military and Police

The report misses an opportunity to provide any information on women in the military and police forces, and/or discuss how gender-specific needs are being taken into account in these security processes. At a minimum, the report should advocate for trainings of all Malian military and police force personnel to include gender and human rights, particularly the rights of women.In addition, the Secretary-General should advocate for a recruitment strategy that professionalizes and retains women in all Malian national forces within the Observation section.

Humanitarian Support

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. The report makes only one references to women, noting 23,000 women suffering from acute malnutrition were treated by the World Food Program.[5]At a minimum, the report should provide sex disaggregated data on refugees and IDPs as well as for all cited persons receiving food and health 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.

Human Rights (WPS / CAAC)

The report provides information on cases of rape registered during the reporting period and compares it to previous reporting periods, but does not disaggregate the gender of the survivors.[6] In addition, the report cites 283 cases of gender based violence in Bamako, Gao, Mopti, and Timbuktu, noting 272 of which involved women.[7] The reference to rape could easily be misinterpreted as a reference to women or gender, but as it's written, there is no language on the gender of those reporting the rapes. Sex-disaggregating this information could give greater insight into how different genders have been affected by SGBV, and whether the numbers have changed over time. The report misses an opportunity to provide any other detailed information on the violation of women's human rights.

Rule of Law/ Judicial Matters

The report misses an opportunity to provide any information on women in relation to the rule of law, including information on survivors of sexual and gender based violence access to judicial services.

Political Process and Electoral Assistance

In its discussion of the Malian political process, the report notes that MINUSMA also sponsored a nationwide campaign, which included women’s organizations, aimed at explaining the content of the peace agreement to the Malian people.[8]The report misses an opportunity to provide information on women’s meaningful participation in the implementation of the peace agreement[9] and the implementation of ceasefires.[10] In the Observation section, however, the Secretary-General strongly encourages all parties of the Malian political process to “provide space for civil society, particularly women… leaders.” Overall, the situation of women in the political sector is unknown from the report. The mandate enables MINUSMA to play a supporting role in promoting increased women’s political participation, and the involvement of women’s organizations as stakeholders and active participants.[11] The report misses an opportunity to provide information on these aspects of the mandate.

International Cooperation and Coordination

The report misses an opportunity to provide any information on UNSOM coordination and cooperation of international assistance on any WPS related concerns and/or funding. At a minimum, the report should call on donors to earmark funding to and increase cooperation on WPS related concerns in the Observation section of the report.


The report provides a detailed breakdown of the gender distribution of the mission, noting women represent 30 per cent of international posts, 21 per cent of national posts, and 33 per cent of volunteer positions.[12] In addition, women make-up 8 per cent of the mission’s military component and 3 per cent of the mission’s police units.[13] The report, however, misses an opportunity to discuss women’s roles within these respective positions, particularly in regard to their leadership positions. In addition, MINUSMA is mandated to deploy Women Protection Advisers,[14] however, there is no information on their deployment and/or activities on the ground.

Ideal Asks

Future reports must advocate for the active participation of women at all levels of institution-building and political processes, especially in the context of ceasefire agreements and local peacebuilding initiatives. It is critical that reports mainstream gender as a cross-cutting issue, providing at a minimum sex-disaggregated data, on the humanitarian and refugee situation, rule of law initiatives and casualties and injuries as the result of extremist violence. Future reporting must include a comprehensive discussion of SGBV, with a focus on access to justice for survivors and protection concerns for IDP and refugee women. Reporting should systematically engage women’s civil society as consultants and participants in humanitarian, political and judicial processes. Finally, reports should acknowledge internal inequalities and advocate for a gender balance among MINUSMA staff, at both the officer and troop levels.


[1] S/2015/732 see para. 31-34

[2] S/RES/2227 (2015) OP. 23

[3] S/2015/732 para. 33

[4] S/RES/2227 OP. 14 (d)

[5] S/2015/732 para. 44

[6] S/2015/732 para. 39

[7] S/2015/732 para. 39

[8] S/2015/732 para. 4

[9] S/2015/732 para. 5-8

[10] S/2015/732 para. 17-23

[11] S/RES/2227 OP. 14 (c) , 23

[12] S/2015/732 para. 52

[13] S/2015/732 para. 52

[14] S/RES/2227 (2015) OP. 14 (d) (iii)