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with pillar of prevention articulated in Resolution 1325 (2000) (Ban 2009; Luck 2009:
18). In his first R2P report, the Secretary-General referred to the responsibility of sovereigns to prevent mass atrocities, including sexual violence, by fulfilling their individual obligations to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000), Resolution 1612 (2005) and Resolution 1820 (2009) (Ban 2009: para.34). In his 2010 report on R2P and early warning, the UN Secretary-General said that there was a gap in the process of accumulating and accessing data relating to the early warning
indicators for conflict that specifically highlighted the risk of R2P crimes (Ban 2010a:
para.10[b]). The Secretary-General noted that R2P crimes do not only occur within contexts of armed conflict and, furthermore, these crimes were to be understood and recognised as possibly having different preconditions to generalized armed conflict.
Though the linkage was not made that particular year (since 2009 R2P report, the first WPS reference has been in 2013 [Ban 2013a]), this argument was quite similar to one being presented by the Secretary-General in the same year concerning the need for greater emphasis on prevention in the WPS agenda, specifically, the prevention of widespread and systematic SGBV.
In WPS Resolution 1960 (2010), the Security Council called for improved data collection specific to the risk of SGBV. The Secretary-General was called upon to identify, in his annual report pursuant to Resolution 1820 (2008), those parties engaged in conflict suspected of conducting acts of systematic sexual violence. In a departure from this reporting duty first outlined in Resolution 1820 (2008) and Resolution 1888 (2009), Resolution 1960 (2010) suggested the Security Council use the Secretary-General’s annual report on situations of sexual violence in armed conflict as a means by which the Council would become more actively engaged in action to prevent these crimes (Security Council Report 2012: 15-16). The Security Council also called upon the Secretary-General to develop criteria for listing and delisting parties suspected of proscribed activities. The approach taken towards reporting situations of sexual violence in armed conflict, and the list of suspected parties, has been ad hoc and largely qualitative, drawing on information from gender advisors in peacekeeping operations, advice from UN Country Teams and the Secretary-General’s Special Representatives, the documentation and reporting of such crimes in individual country reports, information from the International Criminal Court, Human Rights Council, or Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and other ad hoc sources. There remain some deficiencies, not least the lack of transparency in the methods used to list and de-list and absence of clarity about how the UN system will address situations where the potential listing of government forces may cause political problems in situations where peacekeeping missions or Country Teams require the cooperation of the same government. Nonetheless, the naming and shaming of such actors is an attempt to put pressure on them by ending the culture of impunity, and to improve the Council’s response to escalations by mobilizing and refining ongoing analysis both in the field and in New York (Security Council Report 2012: 16).
One of the principal reasons identified by the Security Council for the lack of progress on the prevention of SGBV, noted in Resolution 1960 (2010), has been the failure of Member States and UN offices to ‘cooperatively engage with…actors, national institutions, civil society organizations, health-care service providers, and women’s groups to enhance data collection and analysis of incidents, trends, and patterns of rape and other forms of sexual violence to assist the Council’s consideration of appropriate actions, including targeted and graduated measures’ (S/Res/1960: para.8).
Accordingly, the Secretary-General was charged with establishing a ‘monitoring, analysis and reporting arrangement’ (MARA) to ‘name and shame’ perpetrators, as well as to precipitate the escalation of conflict-related sexual violence by reporting on situations of ‘armed conflict, post-conflict and other situations of relevance’ to the implementation of Resolution 1888 (2009). Furthermore, Resolution 1960 (2010) called for the broadening to include specific gender indicators that could facilitate early warning for the prevention of these atrocities, in turn calling upon Member States to improve their data collection and analysis in these areas.
The Security Council approved the creation of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee on Women, Peace and Security, tasked with creating a strategic framework that would guide the development of MARA. This has led to the establishment of a UN Matrix of Early Warning Indicators of Conflict Related Sexual Violence to guide the actions of the Security Council to prevent, halt and prosecute such crimes (Ban 2011b: paras.60As noted above, fulfillment of this framework requires Member States to provide data in relation to gender-specific indicators including specific acts of violence against women, implementation of international human rights law pertaining to gender equality, economic and social indicators for women and UN specific indicators (i.e. women in peacekeeping missions) (Ban 2010b: Annex). These indicators are intended to guide the development of a prevention framework that will inform the UN system, and specifically the offices under the Secretary General, on gender-focused risk analysis for the prevention of widespread and systematic SGBV.
The UN has set the target of ensuring that half of its early warning systems (those tasked with responding to escalating events, i.e. the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR], the United Nations Department of Political Affairs and Office for Humanitarian Affairs [OCHA]) include gender-specific indicators by 2014, with gender-specific indicators being included as standard across all the system’s early warning analysis by 2020 (Ban 2011b: Annex). During this time, however, it appears there has been no discussion or even recognition of the shared interests in prevention and early warning between the Inter-Agency Standing Committee on WPS and the Office for the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect. This lack of engagement is problematic for the R2P agenda in light of repeated recommendations that there is a need to deepen the agenda’s understanding of gender-specific responses and recommendations to prevent mass atrocity crimes (Skjelsbæk 2012: 154-171).
To date, there has been two references in the five UN Secretary-General reports on R2P (Ban 2009; Ban 2013b) to the need to direct more attention and research to record best practices in the alleviation of gender inequality and the promotion of gender empowerment to prevent mass atrocities, including SGBV crimes (The International Coalition for The Responsibility to Protect undated). However, beyond these suggestions, there has been little direction on how to start building such knowledge. Widespread and systematic SGBV is increasingly identified as a product of war (Taylor 2013), but the specific preconditions for SGBV and reasons why it is prevalent in some armed conflicts but not others remain disputed (Wood 2009; Cohen 2013). As we discuss below, the difficulties in collecting gender sensitive data (and the limited understanding of gender sensitive data) has led to their exclusion from early warning frameworks; thus the relationship between SGBV and mass atrocities, irrespective of the presence of conflict, is discussed but not presented as fact in these frameworks.
In this section we have identified a particularly strong overlap between R2P and WPS to improve early warning assessments to prevent atrocities. However, as the recent UN Secretary General reports on sexual violence in armed conflict situations suggest, serious questions remain regarding the collection and interpretation of the relevant data. Despite a shared interest in early warning frameworks and prevention toolkits to prevent mass atrocities, there has been little detail provided on how R2P and WPS could align their shared concerns to start generating the knowledge required to build political momentum towards prevention and early warning. The first step is to evaluate the added value of including gender inequality in frameworks for predicting mass atrocities (Ban 2013b: 7-8), and it is this question that we turn to in the second part of the article.
Gender-Specific Indicators and Early Warning In 2002, Suzanne Schmeidl and Eugenia Piza-Lopez noted that there were few, if any, early warning systems for conflict prediction, let alone genocide, that incorporated gender-specific indicators (Schmeidl and Piza-Lopez 2002: 8). Little has changed (Bond and Sherret 2012; von Joeden-Forgey 2012). Existing frameworks referred to for predicting mass atrocities and genocide do not refer to SGBV or gendered indicators in their frameworks or policy planning (Harf 2003; Stanton 2004; Albright and Cohen 2008; Woocher 2011; Butcher et al 2012). Despite the fact that legal developments in relation to genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity refer to gender-specific crimes – such as mass rape, forced sterilization and abortions, forced impregnation and forced marriage – two of the most highly sourced and respected annual risk analyses, those produced by Barbara Harff’s Genocide Prevention Advisory Network and Gregory Stanton’s Genocide Watch do not analyse genderspecific indicators (Butcher et al 2012: 12). iii Nor does it appear that there has been consideration of whether a focus on such indicators or prior existence of widespread and systematic SGBV in a country may affect the country risk lists produced.
One potential reason for the ‘gender silence’ in early warning analysis for mass atrocities may be that the primary focus to date has been on defining what is to be ‘tested’ in these frameworks – ethnic and minorities versus the political-socioeconomic targeting – and what modeling provides best predictive capacity (Ulfelder 2011). It seems that the gendered context and influences that informs who of the targeted groups is targeted for these crimes is not of consequence. In addition, the concept of an early warning framework is still relatively new. Regarding early warning for widespread and systematic sexual violence, Secretary-General Kofi Annan came close to explicitly calling for such a framework in his 2006 violence against women report when he called on the Security Council to address ‘the
responsibility of the State to address violence against women’, and recommended:
The Security Council intensify efforts to address gender-based violence against women and consistently monitor measures taken within the framework of the implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women and peace and security. Towards this end, the Security Council should consider establishing a dedicated monitoring mechanism to increase the effectiveness of the Council’s contribution to preventing and redressing violence against women in armed conflict (Annan 2006: para.397).
However, it was not until Resolution 1960 (2010) that the Security Council started to identify the need to prevent violence against women through developing an early warning system (MARA), but the focus has been only on monitoring known perpetrators from committing further acts of sexual violence. Thus all ‘early warning’ focus in MARA is on escalating acts of sexual violence and the perpetrators rather than the structural conditions that gave rise to such acts (i.e. an early warning framework that focuses on intervening variables that may prevent as well as predict).
Another potential explanation for the silence could be that the need for genderfocused early warning has received only sporadic interest from the Security Council and that this interest has been limited to its thematic agenda on WPS, particularly conflict-related sexual violence. In other words, there has been little cross-fertilization of WPS into other Security Council themes, missions and agendas (Aroussi 2011).
This is particularly highlighted in discussions about sexual violence in the Security Council where there has been active political opposition to discussions of widespread and systematic sexual violence in conflicts that are not already on the agenda of the Security Council, despite precedents in other thematic areas, specifically in discussions of Children in Armed Conflict (Security Council Report 2012: 5).
A recent examination of the Security Council’s progress on WPS since Resolution 1325 (2000), conducted by the NGO Security Council Report, revealed key failings ‘in terms of the continuing development of the Council’s response to sexual violence’: the lack of ‘reporting consistency between different country-specific situations’ and failure to implement ongoing monitoring, analysis and reporting arrangements on conflict-related sexual violence.’ In other words, the relationship between political violence and sexual violence has not been understood as linked – this is a failure in early warning to prevent these crimes (Security Council Report 2012: 2). More careful thinking and analysis of gender-specific root causes may highlight where mass atrocities, including widespread and/or systematic SGBV, are
likely to occur in situations of conflict, post-conflict and civil unrest (Ban 2012b:
paras.1-4; UN Women 2014). This requires R2P and WPS advocates seeking each other out to outline a shared prevention focus.
Early Warning and SGBV In light of the discussion above, this section explores the opportunities and challenges in relation to gender inequality in early warning frameworks for genocide and mass atrocities. Arguments for early warning frameworks to include gender-specific indicators have been raised by UN Women as recently as 2014 (UN Women 2014).