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Statement by the Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, at the Commission on the Status of Women Side Event: “The Impact of Drug Policies on Women”

It is an honor to introduce Emma Bonino at this morning’s event. Ms. Bonino is a familiar and welcome face here at the Italian Mission. Over the years she has been here as an activist, as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and now as the Head of our Delegation to CSW60. Her advocacy and her moral leadership in the field of human rights are universally known. I am also pleased to acknowledge the presence of Ms. Kasia Malinowska, Director of the Global Drug Policy Program of the Open Society Foundation, as well as all the other participants for so kindly accepting our invitation to be here this morning.

Italy has a long history of making gender equality a priority in both the public and civil frameworks. We pay special attention to preventing and combatting all forms of violence, direct and indirect, perpetrated against vulnerable or disadvantaged persons and groups. We have implemented positive policies in support of women’s associations and networks dedicated to empowering women, strengthening their rights, and assuring equality.

Great attention has been focused on the conditions of women in criminal circles and in the framework of crime prevention and criminal justice. Dedicated prison circuits for women and girls guarantee a balanced approach to their specific needs while facing criminal sanctions and Italy has acted in compliance with international standards in this respect.

In terms of specifics, in 2012 Italy promoted CND resolution 55/5, Promoting strategies and measures addressing the specific needs of women in the context of comprehensive and integrated drug demand reduction programmes and strategies.

This resolution recommends addressing the challenges raised by specific situations through close attention and positive policies. Challenges related to health needs, including HIV prevention programmes, pregnancy, childcare and parental education. Challenges related to abuses and violence. Alternatives to incarceration. Targeted information campaigns and women-centered strategies.

There is much work remaining to be done at the national and international levels. In this respect, the importance of the meeting of today and of the side event Italy will co-organized during UNGASS in April are self-evident.

I am sure today’s debate will enable us to make meaningful advancements, starting with the introductory remarks that Ms Bonino is going to share with us.