The Security Council met on 22 January 2014 to discuss the situation in the Central African Republic. Council Members were briefed by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict; the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide; the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict; and the Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator. Key issues discussed in the meeting included mounting protection concerns due to attacks against civilians, and the possible risk of genocide. Other issues discussed were war crimes, crimes against humanity, including sexual violence; the causes of the current conflict and international community’s efforts to mobilize sufficient resources to respond effectively to the conflict. Women, peace and security concerns were generally addressed throughout the meeting, particularly with regards to protection concerns, although a reference was also made to female leadership.
Women, peace and security issues were referenced on a number of occasions throughout the meeting by each of the speakers, addressing protection concerns in particular with one reference made to women in leadership. Specifically, references were made to assessments of the impact of the conflict on women and children; reports of violence against civilians, in particular against women and children and including sexual violence. It is worth noting that seven references were made to various aspects of sexual violence in conflict, including with respect to the SRSG’s previous and current reporting on sexual violence in CAR and the signing of two joint communiqués relating to sexual violence in conflict. The meeting also noted the allegations of conflict-related sexual violence in IDP camps and the lack of adequate services for survivors. Although this represented an important component of the gender dimensions of displacement, it is unfortunate that further discussions around displacement in the meeting did not include, for instance, sex-disaggregated data. Finally, the SRSG on Sexual Violence in Conflict referenced women’s leadership at the highest levels of government in CAR and stated that this represented a powerful symbol of progress and change.
Despite the already discussed references to the women, peace and security agenda, a gender lens was lacking from the following issues; displacement, human rights monitoring and protection expertise, support for national peace and reconciliation processes, the possible establishment of transitional justice systems, mobilization of resources and allocation, humanitarian situation, including displaced women wherein age was considered but not gender, humanitarian assistance, access and delivery. Finally there was no mention of the need to support civil society leaders, particularly those from women’s organizations.
The MAP for January 2014 called on the Council to support the deployment of Gender Advisers, women protection advisers, and Child Protection Advisers to focus on violations and abuses committed against women and children, including all forms of sexual violence in armed conflict, as stated in SCR 2121 (2013), ensuring that medical and psychosocial services are available and accessible as per SCR 2127 (2013); it also called on the Council to insist on accountability for atrocities committed by all armed groups and security forces operating in the country, and reinforce efforts to ensure justice systems are re-established, with investigations and prosecutions conducted according to international standards. This meeting’s record in comparison to the January MAP was inadequate since there were some points that were not addressed.