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First Discussion Series: “Monitoring the safety and security of humanitarian personnel”

Remarks delivered by Ambassador Stefano Stefanile, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the First Discussion Series: “Monitoring the safety and security of humanitarian personnel” —


First off, I genuinely want to show my appreciation for this conversation we are having. I think it is particularly important that this conversation has a multistakeholder fashion and that we can go beyond the usual pattern of official meetings here at the UN.

As it has been said already by many speakers, we live in a world of regional and local conflicts where civilians and humanitarian operators alike are put in danger basically on a daily basis and as you know Italy also paid a toll recently, a very tragic toll when our Ambassador, his military escort and a local driver were attacked and killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo and they were being transferred in a WFP convoy so under the insigna of humanitarian operation. This is one of the most recent and most tragic examples of what we are seeing during this discussion.

So it is imperative that we renew our collective efforts to promote the respect of the implementation of the International Humanitarian Law. We already know what to do because as was recalled by the French Ambassador at the beginning but also by other colleagues we do have this Call to Action that was launched in 2019 with four main pillars, four main directions where we need to go if we want to achieve these objectives and one of these pillars is indeed data collection. Data collection is key for two main reasons: the first one and perhaps the most important and urgent in the short term is to improve prevention and what I take from the discussion that we are having is that among the added criteria, the accessibility and sharing of the information is really a key factor here. I am comforted from the fact that I heard there is this attempt to consolidate and integrate the system in terms of accessibility of data and information. I will also look with interest to what our Spanish colleague said about his peer to peer initiative that they had promoted but we do need to do more in this direction, accessibility and sharing of information.

Let me underline one added dimension that is, data collection and information collection are also key to ensure prosecution and accountability when these kinds of crimes are perpetrated. And this is fundamental too and from that point of view I am a little bit concerned about what I heard, I think from Cristina from the civil society when she said that the reporting about incidents on the fields sometimes finds some difficulties and instead I believe this is really key because prosecution and accountability, reduced impunity act as a deterrent against the repetition of these crimes.

Thank you very much.