SG Report offering an assessment of the implementation of SCR 1701 (2006) since the previous SG Report of 13 November 2013, S/2013/650. As per the mandate of SCR 1701 (2006), most of the Report’s attention focuses on the situation in the area of operations of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), and therefore evidences a relatively stable situation between Lebanon and Israel, notwithstanding two serious incidents along the Blue Line in southern Lebanon. However, the background to the Report is the broader crisis affecting Lebanon from the east, with a worrying upsurge in terrorist incidents related to the conflict in Syria, the continuing influx of Syrian refugees (totaling more than 900,000 in Lebanon alone as of 3 February), and ongoing cross-border shelling and smuggling of weapons. Encouragingly, however, the Prime Minister designate did announce the formation of a 24-member Government of national interest, and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon opened the in absentia trial of the persons accused in connection with the 2005 killing of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.
There were a limited few references to women peace and security in this Report, touching briefly upon the protection and support mechanisms needed to combat reported sexual exploitation, physical abuse and harassment of Syrian refugee women and girls, who in some cases have resorted to coping mechanisms for survival including prostitution, sex offered in return for assistance and forced marriage (para. 54). There are also several instances of sex-disaggregated data, including with reference to the 80 percent of Syrian refugees that are women and children (para. 52), and the disaggregated breakdown of UNIFIL staff (para. 61).
The vast majority of this Report overlooks women peace and security concerns. Even the one substantive reference to protection and support mechanisms for Syrian refugee women and girls is lacking in its urgency and limited in its detail as to how these vulnerable women and girls will be effectively protected and supported. Further, although the SG acknowledges some participation from women in its UNIFIL deployment, there is no mention of women’s participation as an essential element of women’s rights within Lebanon and Syrian (and other) refugee communities. The SG therefore misses the opportunity to stress the critical role that women can and should play in conflict prevention, resolution and peacebuilding processes.
The SG Report is effectively silent on the recommendations put forward in the most recent MAP on the situation in Lebanon (August 2013). There is no mention of women’s involvement in any aspect of peace processes, no reference to capacity-building for civil society organizations to engage in conflict resolution, and no attention to gender-specific awareness training for relevant security institutions. There is also no mention of the ways cluster bombs and other ordnance impact upon civilians, including women and girls (there is, however, a short section devoted to the clearance of hazardous lands), and little attention to the role of the UNIFIL mission in addressing the spillover effects of the Syrian conflict on Lebanese civilians.
Although attention to women peace and security is limited in the current Report, it is a small improvement from the previous SG Report on the implementation of SCR 1701 (2006), S/2013/650, which only included two references to sex-disaggregated data. The current Report takes a small step forward by recognizing the need for protection and support mechanisms to combat sexual exploitation, physical abuse and harassment of Syrian refugee women and girls.