Somalia (S/2004/330)

Monday, May 12, 2014
Report Analysis: 

Pursuant to Security Council resolution 2102 (2013), the report dated 12 May 2014 (S/2004/330) covered major political and security developments in Somalia, updated the Council on the implementation of the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), and offered an update on the implementation of SCR 2124 (2013). In particular, the report touched upon regional developments in the federal government’s attempt to advance the state formation process; the launch of “Operation Eagle” by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Somali National Army, with significant gains achieved in territory controlled by Al-Shabaab, but alongside protracted insecurity in Mogadishu; and UN support to peace consolidation in the areas of good offices and political support, peacebuilding and statebuilding, human rights and protection, humanitarian response, stabilization, socioeconomic recovery and development, targeted sanctions and coordination.

This Secretary-General report brought a fairly strong voice to women, peace, and security concerns, with sections dedicated to gender mainstreaming and the empowerment of women as well as sexual violence in conflict and gender-based violence (paras.52-54). The Secretary-General highlighted Somali women's organizations meetings to ensure gender was mainstreamed within the Somali Compact; the UN facilitating meetings of the Somali Women's Leadership Initiative to enhance women's participation in regional, national and local decision-making, including within peacebuilding efforts (para.52); AMISOM finalizing its gender policy (para.53); and Somali civil society representatives attending the Commission on the Status of Women in New York City (para.53). He also acknowledged the inclusion of women’s groups in inter-clan peace committees in Kismaayo (para.4); and the naming of one woman as Minister within the Interim Juba Administration (although as State Minister for Women’s Affairs) (para.4). Encouragingly, the Secretary-General raised concern in his concluding observations about the continuing under representation of Somali women in peacebuilding. Further, he urged the Somali authorities to ensure the full representation of women in constitutional, electoral and state formation processes, in line with SCR 1325 (2000); advocated for special attention to be given to women in recovered areas, where they bear the brunt of heavy socioeconomic burdens; and called for the ratification of CEDAW (para.99).

Beyond gender mainstreaming and the empowerment of women, there was also some attention to women’s protection concerns. The report noted sexual violence committed against children (para.50); UNICEF partner assistance to survivors of sexual violence (para.54); and the training of corrections officers in gender and juvenile justice (para.35). The Secretary-General also included several instances of sex-disaggregated data (paras.35;50).

Although the Secretary-General brought considerable attention to women, peace and security in this report, it was largely confined to the section on gender mainstreaming and empowerment of women / sexual violence in conflict and gender-based violence (paras.52-54). Therefore, it was essentially siloed within the designated “women” sections and not effectively mainstreamed throughout the report. In this way, opportunities were missed to detail the ways that Operation Eagle has affected the lives of women (through insecurity, displacement, lack of access to humanitarian assistance); to elaborate upon the effects of conflict-related sexual violence beyond one sentence detailing UNICEF partner assistance to 256 survivors; and to promote women’s participation in sectors beyond peacebuilding, such as within political processes, economic life and security sector reform (it should be acknowledged, however, that the Secretary-General did conclude with a strong call for greater representation of women in constitutional, electoral and state formation processes).

This report was partially responsive to the most recent MAP recommendations on the situation in Somalia (March 2014). Especially in the Secretary-General’s concluding observations, he called for greater women’s representation in peacebuilding, including in constitutional, electoral and state formation processes. The report also acknowledged some human rights trainings, however not sufficient to effectively respond to the MAP’s calls for greater prevention, monitoring, investigating and reporting on abuses and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. Further, there was little detail on sexual violence in this report, especially not from a protection lens (just the reporting of its existence), and no mention of sexual exploitation and abuse by AMISOM or the Somali National Army.

The current report paled in comparison to the previous report on the situation in Somalia, S/2014/140, especially with regards to women’s protection. The previous report highlighted the lack of justice in cases of gender-based violence, consultations on ending violence against women and girls, the Working Group on gender-based violence developing its 2014-2016 strategy, training of police officers on investigating and reporting gender-based violence, prevention activities and comprehensive services for survivors, the training of AMISOM senior military commanders on gender issues to strengthen prevention and response to conflict-related sexual violence, and the AMISOM concept of operations foreseeing the establishment of effective procedures for allegations of grave violations of human rights and humanitarian law, including sexual and gender-based violence.

Building upon the recent report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Somalia, S/2014/330, the SRSG and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) Mr. Nicholas Kay briefed the Council on 22 May 2004 (S/PV.7181) on the developments in Somalia, the activities of UNSOM, and the joint offensive by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Somali National Army, with subsequent remarks from the representative of Somalia.  Acknowledging the advances made over the twelve months since the launch of UNSOM, the SRSG nonetheless highlighted that Somalia is approaching a critical phase that requires urgent progress politically (in establishing the mechanisms to revise and implement the Constitution, oversee the establishment of federal states, and prepare for elections); in security and stabilization in the newly recovered areas from Al-Shabaab; and in funding for the Somali National Army (as well as the provision of military helicopters), the Somali Compact towards economic progress and development, and humanitarian operations (with the consolidated appeal only funded at 19 percent to date).

There was one strong reference to women, peace and security concerns in this briefing, with the SRSG acknowledging that gender-based violence in Somalia remains “unacceptably high.” He noted that the UN team of experts on sexual violence had visited in December of last year, and that they were striving to implement the experts’ recommendations.

Although the SRSG made a strong reference to the problem of gender-based violence in Somalia, he did not acknowledge that this problem extends to sexual exploitation and abuse committed by peacekeepers and national army personnel. And unlike previous briefings, he also neglected to stress the importance of women’s empowerment and participation in a present and future Somalia.

In response to the most recent MAP on the situation in Somalia (March 2014), this briefing was silent on women’s participation and only acknowledged the ongoing incidence of sexual violence in Somalia (although the SRSG did say that they are striving to implement the recommendations from the UN experts on sexual violence). In regards to preventing, monitoring, investigating and reporting on abuses and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, the SRSG pointed to trainings on human rights, international humanitarian law and refugee law.

The previous briefing on the situation in Somalia, S/PV.7132, offered greater attention and balance to both women’s protection and participation as, in addition to the SRSG’s conveying his concern about sexual violence in Somalia, he also acknowledged the work of UNSOM in advocating for greater women’s participation in political life and national decision-making.

Responding to the Secretary-General’s 3 April Letter to the President of the Security Council, S/2014/243, identifying options for supporting the federal government of Somalia to meet its obligations under the partial suspension of the arms embargo, as well as the prior SCR 2142 (2014), the Council delivered a presidential statement (S/PRST/2014/9) dated on 22 May 2014 which underlined the importance of Somalia improving its arms and ammunition management, and calling on all relevant members of the international community to assist including through the provision of financial and in-kind support.

There were no reference to women, peace and security concerns.

The PRST missed the opportunity to acknowledge and emphasize the links between the proliferation of weapons and the risks this poses to violence and harm against civilians, especially women, and therefore to stress the need for the federal government of Somalia not only to ensure that weapons and ammunition are not resold, transferred to, or made available for use outside of the Security Forces, but also to insist upon a concurrent need for the protection of civilians, including women and children.

Recent MAPs on the situation in Somalia, including the most recent in March 2014, have focused on the activities of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and/or the issue of piracy off the coast of Somalia, and so are not directly relevant to the partial lifting of the arms embargo and the federal government of Somalia’s resultant arms and ammunition management.

The previous Council statement on the subject, S/RES/2142 (2014), was a resolution and not a presidential statement, and so was longer, and yet also had no reference to women peace and security concerns.

With the conclusion of the first year of activities of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), this Security Council resolution dated 29 May 2014 (S/RES/2158) renewed the Mission’s mandate for another 12 months.

The UNSOM resolution included very strong references on women’s protection, with a mandate to help the federal government of Somalia to: promote and protect human rights and women’s empowerment, including through Gender Advisors and Human Rights Advisors (OP.1(d)(i)); prevent conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence, including through Women Protection Advisors (OP.1(d)(iii)); strengthen Somalia’s justice institutions and help ensure accountability in particular with respect to crimes against women and children (OP.1(d)(iv)); and to monitor, help investigate, report and help prevent any violations or abuses committed against women, including all forms of sexual and gender-based violence in armed conflict (OP.1(e)(iii)). The eesolution also emphasized the UN zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse (OP.6); stressed the importance of accountability for all serious violations of international humanitarian law, and emphasized the need for a national strategy for preventing and responding to sexual and gender-based violence (OP.11); and called on UNSOM to implement its mandate consistent with SCR 1325 (2000), deploring the ongoing incidences of sexual violence in the country, but welcoming the government’s development of a National Action Plan to end sexual violence as well as the Implementation of the Plan of the Joint Communiqué of the federal government of Somalia and the United Nations on the Prevention of Sexual Violence (OP.12).

With much attention to women’s protection concerns in this resolution, it is unfortunate that there was not a corresponding emphasis on women’s participation. Although the resolution did include one reference to promote women's empowerment (OP.1(d)(i)), and did call upon UNSOM to implement its mandate consistent with SCR 1325 (2000) (OP.12), the Council missed the opportunity to detail the specific need for greater women’s participation in conflict resolution and peacebuilding processes, in addition to all other aspects of political, economic, social and cultural life. Especially coming on the heels of the report by the Secretary-General that placed emphasis both upon women’s protection and participation, the SCR fell short on the participation side. Finally, although the resolution is a model for strong protection language, and highlighted the importance of UNSOM abiding by the Secretary-General’s Human Rights and Due Diligence Policy and the United Nations Zero-Tolerance Policy on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, it missed the opportunity to also acknowledge that the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Somali National Army (SNA) also strictly adhere to these policies.

The SCR was partially responsive to the most recent MAP on the situation in Somalia (March 2014). It was especially responsive to the recommendations regarding UNSOM’s help to prevent, monitor, investigate, and report on abuses and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law (although it didn’t provide any details on progress), as well as in its call on UNSOM to abide by the zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse (although it did not call for the same from AMISOM and SNA). It did not respond fully to the  recommendations regarding women’s full participation the constitutional review process, dialogues with Somali regional actors on the federal system, the implementation of the Somali Compact, and all efforts to find a political solution to the ongoing armed violence.

In the previous resolution that created UNSOM, S/RES/2102 (2013), there was very strong attention to women’s protection (and similarly less attentive to women’s participation). However, the current resolution went even further than its predecessor and called for UNSOM to carry out its mandate consistent with SCR 1325 (2000).

PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
General Women, Peace and Security
Security Council Agenda Geographical Topic: 
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