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Security Council – Open Debate on “Maintenance of International Peace and Security”

Statement delivered by Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the Security Council Open Debate on the “Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Trafficking of Persons in Conflict Situations” —

Mr. President,

Italy aligns itself with the statement (to be) delivered by the European Union and wishes to add the following remarks in its national capacity, which are supported by the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the light of our cooperation related to the upcoming split mandate in the Security Council.

In 2016 over 350 thousand people crossed the Mediterranean. 4,742 died or disappeared in the crossing. We are committed to saving lives at sea and have rescued more than 350.000 people since 2014, while at the same time actively working to disrupt the business model of traffickers, also by providing the bulk of the EU naval operation Sophia.

Human trafficking, particularly in conflict situations, targets the most vulnerable, including women and children. It must be addressed via a comprehensive approach at national, regional and international level.

At the national level, Italy is focused on prevention, victim protection, anti-discrimination measures, strengthened law enforcement and judicial cooperation. Our legal framework is victim-centered, human rights-oriented and gender- and child-sensitive and in February 2016, we approved a National Action Plan on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings.

At the international level, Italy promotes a holistic approach which focusses on addressing the root causes; finding political solutions to international crisis; promoting international cooperation and devising accountability measures.

Accountability is fundamental: Italy is committed to bringing to justice individuals proved guilty of such crimes. Thanks to victims’ identification and testimonies of the survivors, a week ago Italian Authorities convicted the culprits of the shipwreck off the coast of Libya in April 2015 which caused over 700 victims, sentencing them to 18 years in prison.

We are committed to the full implementation of the “Palermo Convention” and its protocols, including the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. These are key to bolstering international cooperation and we urge their universal ratification and implementation.

Mr. President,

Italy welcomes the consolidated involvement by the Security Council on this topic. The trends recorded by the Secretary General’s report, reports of UNODC, IOM and the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, all highlight the security implications of the issue. We believe the time is right to step up the SC’s engagement in the following directions.

First, Italy will follow-up on the Spanish initiative to keep the Security Council alert on the link between human trafficking and the violation of human rights. We will encourage efforts by the Council to condemn the exploitation of women and children and support its ability to look into the connections with transnational organized crime and terrorism.

Secondly, we look forward to the Secretary General’s recommendations to strengthen synergies among UN agencies and the Special Representatives of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict and on Children and Armed Conflict. As foreseen by the resolution adopted today, we believe that the Security Council should take advantage of the opportunity for the two Special Representatives to brief the sanctions committees on trafficking and abuses on women and children.

Third, we underscore the importance of training for UN personnel in conflict situations. Peacekeepers and police units must be trained to rapidly identify the situations where there is a heightened risk of trafficking, especially for the most vulnerable individuals. In this regard I underscore our expertise in tailored training courses for police units, with a focus on protection of human rights and gender based violence: so far, we have trained more than 10’000 units at the Centre of Excellence for Stability Forces Units in Vicenza.

Lastly, with regard to financial flows stemming from trafficking, existing mechanisms to curb money-laundering and terrorism financing can play an important role to monitor migration routes and preempt trafficking from the outset of conflicts and regional crisis. This will improve our capacity to identify the victims, save their lives and provide them effective assistance.

I thank you.