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Mr. President,

Italy aligns itself with the statements made by the European Union, and by Switzerland on behalf of the Group of Friends of the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflicts, and wishes to add a few remarks in a national capacity.

Mr. President,

In these times, civilians are victims of senseless violence in an increasing number of conflicts all over the world. Neither women, girls, nor children or other vulnerable groups are spared in the most urgent crises that this Council has been discussing this past year.

In all of these cases of armed conflict, just as in many post-conflict situations, the world has been witnessing an intolerable escalation of violence against women and girls. All of the gender-based forms of human rights violations and abuses experienced by women and girls, such as killings, sexual violence, forced marriages, attacks on schoolgirls and women’s education and health facilities, need to be addressed by this Council urgently and resolutely.

This is not a matter of normative tools – not anymore. In fact, since its adoption of resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace, and Security, the Security Council recognised women’s vulnerability in armed conflict and thus the vital importance of increasing women’s participation in preventing and resolving conflicts, including peace-keeping and humanitarian operations. Moreover, in accordance with resolution 2122 (2013), the Council has committed itself to promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women in conflict and post-conflict situations. In addition, the operationalisation of the UN monitoring and reporting mechanisms has been set up and further developed in recent years.

But still, as pointed out by the Secretary-General’s latest Report on Women, Peace, and Security and the 2014 International Criminal Court Prosecutor’s Policy Paper on Sexual and Gender-based Crimes, the global landscape for women and girls’ rights in armed conflict and post-conflict settings remains dire. Many of those societies are persistently dominated by gender inequality and the culture of impunity.

That is why it is time to take common action, led by the strongest possible political will of this Council. It is essential that, for those responsible for committing gender-based crimes, the Council strengthen coherence in its recourse to the International Criminal Court and help the Court fulfill its mandate, also by ensuring appropriate follow up to Security Council referrals.

In this respect, Italy underlines the importance of strengthening cooperation among Member States and with international jurisdictions to fight impunity. The effective protection of civilians depends on a culture of accountability in all conflict scenarios.

Even States that are not Parties to the Rome Statute can cooperate with the Court and contribute to the discharge of its mandate, thus reaching a fundamental goal of the international community as a whole.

In strengthening the protection of civilians, women and girls in particular, we must make sure that perpetrators of crimes realize that the Security Council will effectively follow through in enforcing individual responsibility for crimes under international law.

Mr. President,

Prevention and response to Gender-Based Violence has been a priority during our recently concluded Presidency of the Council of the European Union, in line with our long-term commitment to this issue. Specific programmes targeting women and girls who have survived violence have been implemented by the Italian Government in Africa, Asia and the Middle East with the characteristic of bridging the gap between humanitarian and development assistance. Consistent with our work on the ground, we have made the issue a priority in the Humanitarian Working Group of the Council in Brussels and organized a EU roundtable on Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies, calling for renewed action at all levels.

Mr. President,

Let me conclude by stressing the importance of disseminating early-warning mechanisms to prevent gender crimes in conflict-related situations. To counter the scourge of violence against women and girls, due priority should be given to peacekeeper and police unit training in the protection of women’s rights as well as to strengthening UN monitoring and assessment capabilities. To this end, Italy warmly welcomes the launch of the Human Rights Up Front Initiative by the Secretary-General and the recent adoption of analytical tools for preventing these heinous acts, such as the “Framework of Analysis” for atrocity crimes.

I thank you, Mr. President.