Democratic Republic of the Congo (S/2014/42)

Thursday, January 23, 2014
Congo (Brazzaville)
Report Analysis: 

The final report of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, S/2014/42 (23 January 2014) pursuant to Midterm report of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo S/2013/433 (19 July 2013) established by Security Council resolution 2078 (2012) provides documentation of serious violations of measures imposed by paragraph 20 of Resolution 1493 (2003). The report is divided into the following seven sections with an addition of one hundred and fourteen pieces of annexes: Introduction, Congolese armed groups, Foreign armed groups, Stockpile management, Violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, Natural resources and Recommendations.

Women, peace and security are only referenced in relation to the reporting of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) (para. 42, 56, 65, 139, 140 and 143). In this same regard, the report also references women and girls in the context of forced recruitment into military groups (para. 19, 157, 158 and 159). Women were also reported in the context of being causalities or potential victims in the case of indiscriminate shelling and warfare (Box 1, para. 107 and 119). The report misses numerous opportunities to incorporate a gender perspective on peacekeeping operations in its recommendations as laid out in Security Council Resolution 1493 (2003) first establishing the Group of Experts (Op. 9). The report fails to include in its recommendations measures to address, prevent and respond to SGBV. The report misses the opportunity to recommend an increase in the deployment of women as military observers as well as within the justice system.

Finally, the report fails to include the full inclusion of women within its recommendations for enhanced support in Security Sector Reform and Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration processes. In relation to the recommendations put forth in the June 2013 MAP, the report’s record is inadequate. The MAP calls for numerous points including, reporting on the efforts to include women in peace and reconciliation efforts, the impact of the humanitarian situation on women and participation in the electoral, security sector and judicial reform processes.[1] However, the report could improve by taking into consideration the MAP’s recommendation of the protection to women and children from indiscriminate attack by taking intelligence data and using it as an early warning signal. The report must includ a gender perspective for all stakeholders in its future recommendations.

The limited mention of women, peace and security issues in the final report of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo of 23 January 2014 (S/2014/42) is on par with the previous midterm report of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo of 19 July 2013 (S/2013/433). On protection and human rights concerns, both reports fail to reference the ongoing impunity of crimes of SGBV and should include perpetrators responsible for SGBV onto the targeted sanctions list. Finally, both reports fail to incorporate a gender perspective within the set of recommendations provided to relevant stakeholders.

During the meeting that took place on 13 January 2014, the Security Council addressed the situation concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in particular, it discussed the Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (S/2013/757) and the Report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region (S/2013/773). The list of participants who spoke during this meeting include: the Security Council President Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein from Jordan, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Head of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mr. Martin Kobler and the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Regions of Africa, Mrs. Mary Robinson.

This briefing addressed Women, Peace and Security issues in a balanced way, including both protection and participation concerns, however, Mr. Kobler focused more on the protection realm while Mrs. Robinson touched more on women’s participation. Mr. Martin Kobler discussed situations in which women are victims of violence and are in need of protection such as ADF attacks wherein there were killings and rape of women and children and also the case of 206 under-aged girls who have been documented by MONUSCO as being raped. He further on mentioned that there is zero tolerance for sexual violence and all the perpetrators must be held accountable. Additionally, perpetrators of gross human rights violations should be exempt from amnesty.

Finally, Mr. Kobler talked about the islands of stability where women and men can go to their fields and to the market and not fear being robbed, raped or kidnapped however children don’t go to school and women cannot give birth without risks. Mrs. Mary Robinson insisted on the need to closely incorporate civil society into the implementation process of the national commitments and discussed the future launch of the Great Lakes women’s platform with the aim to empower women in the region to ensure effective monitoring and advocacy for the PSC framework and the implementation of regional and national plans of actions under 1325, combat violence against women, support women affected by violence, and ensure women’s livelihoods, development and access to clean energy at the local level. Despite the noteworthy mentions of the WPS agenda that have been already discussed, the Security Council failed to offer a gender lens in regards to the following matters that were addressed by the speakers: DDR; female combatants and their needs in order to reintegrate into civilian life; SSR; the legalization and regulation of the trade of conflict minerals; electoral processes and national budget for elections; implementation of the Nairobi declarations; and the economic cross border initiatives and private investment opportunities. Additionally, the speakers failed to provide gender disaggregated data every time that they discussed civilian victims, the composition of armed groups, the civilian and military component of the mission and the number of UN Volunteers actively participating in MONUSCO.

In comparison with the January 2014 MAP[1], this meeting failed to take into account the suggestions provided by the NGO WG. The January 2014 MAP called for the follow up of the November PRST 2013/17 which called for the equal and full inclusion of women at all stages of conflict resolution, reconstruction and the promotion of peace. It also called for the Council to inquire into specific information on targeted attacks on women and consultation with women’s human rights organizations.

This meeting is on par with the previous meeting which was S/PV.7046 where the Council was briefed by Special Representative Martin Kobler on the most recent MONUSCO report and by Special Envoy Mary Robinson on the implementation of the PSC Framework. The WPS references on both meetings practically discuss the same aspects, however, Mrs. Robinson explicitly references 1325 on this current meeting. Security Council Resolution 2136 (30 January 2014) on the DRC was adopted at the 7107 meeting of the Security Council on 30 January 2014 (S/PV.7094). The Resolution extends the sanctions regime and measures imposed on arms and transport as well as financial pursuant to SCR 1807. In addition, the mandate to the Group of Experts (GoE) is extended until February 2015. The Resolution enumerates the individuals and entities for which the sanctions apply. The Resolution expresses continued concern over the security and humanitarian crisis in eastern DRC due to ongoing military engagement by foreign and domestic armed groups as well as the persistence of human rights abuses and violations of humanitarian law, including large scale violence against civilians.

The Council included several noteworthy mentions of women, peace and security in the Resolution. The majority of mentions were associated with sexual and gender­based violence. There are three references to gender in the preambular paragraphs. The first expresses concern regarding the persistence of serious human rights abuses and violations of humanitarian law, including sexual and gender­based violence (PP 11). The second calls for all those responsible of human rights abuses and violations to be held accountable (PP14). The third reference recalls all relevant resolutions on women, peace and security (PP18). These preambular references are reinforced by parallel paragraphs within the operative paragraphs. First, the perpetrators of sexual and gender­based violence are within the jurisdiction of sanctions imposed (OP 4e). Additionally, the Council condemns all armed groups committing attacks, including acts of sexual and gender­based violence (OP 6). Finally, the Council urges the DRC government to follow through with commitments to prevent and protect girls and boys from violence (OP 10).

The Council misses several significant opportunities to reference women, peace and security within the resolution. First, the Council speaks about the illegal trade of small arms and light weapons (SAWL) within both the preambular and operative paragraphs, however there is no mention of the impact of this trade on women’s security (OP 16). Second, council fails to integrate women, peace and security into the operative clauses on DDR. Noting the potential risks associated with DDR, it the Council ensure the security civilians and explicitly mention the protection and promotion of women’s human rights at every stage of DDR (OP 9). The third missed opportunity by the Council is within the discussion of SSR and justice sector reform. (OP 18). The Council calls for reform of the army, police and the justice sector, and for an end to impunity for human rights violations, however women’s participation in these processes as well as inclusion of women’s human rights promotion and protection concerns, particularly with a focus on gender in civilian protection is absent. Finally, obstruction of humanitarian access and distribution is included under the sanction regime, but general discussion of humanitarian access and delivery to civilians, refugees and IDP is absent from the Resolution, and therefore there is also no mention of the gender­specific rights of women in the access and delivery of humanitarian aid (OP 4f).

In relation to the recommendations put forth in the January 2014 MAP, the resolution’s record is inadequate. The Council fails to consider women’s participation in any of the PSC processes mentioned in the resolution and fails to articulate the need for specific information on attacks against women and women’s human rights defenders. Additionally, the impact of the humanitarian situation upon women is mentioned in relation to condemning sexual and gender based violence against women, but does not consider the gender specific concerns and rights of female refugees and IDPs

The resolution of 30 January 2014 (S/RES/2136) is on par with the previous Resolution of 28 November 2012 (S/RES/2078). Both resolutions condemn violations of sexual and gender­based violence and call to end impunity for these crimes in the preambular and operative paragraphs, particularly both resolutions include acts of sexual and gender­based violence under the sanctions regime. Despite these noteworthy mentions to the women, peace and security agenda, critical areas including, SAWL, DDR, SSR and humanitarian access and delivery remain devoid of a gender perspective.

PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
General Women, Peace and Security
Security Council Agenda Geographical Topic: 
Democratic Republic of the Congo
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