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76th UNGA – Annual Ministerial Meeting on the Responsibility to Protect: The Role of Women and Girls in Atrocity Prevention

Statement delivered by the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Marina Sereni, at the Annual Ministerial Meeting on the Responsibility to Protect: The Role of Women and Girls in Atrocity Prevention. —


Your Excellences,

Dear participants,

let me thank all the conveners for this important meeting. Italy is strongly in favor of an enhanced interplay between the Principle of the Responsibility to Protect and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.

These are challenging times for the protection of civilians, as the Covid-19 outbreak has compounded the suffering of people living in conflict zones.

Unfortunately, this pandemic has not proved to be gender-neutral, as women and girls are disproportionally affected by humanitarian crises and they are the main victims of atrocities in these contexts. Indeed, sexual violence represents a major hindrance to women empowerment: no gender equality can be achieved if we do not eradicate this scourge.

We need a paradigm shift, aiming to the full establishment of a culture of gender equality, which promotes women empowerment and mainstreams a gendered perspective on society.

We firmly believe that in order to foster the prospects for sustainable peace and reconciliation in crisis contexts it is key to ensure that all segments of the society – starting from women – are able to get their voices heard.

There is plenty of evidence that – when women are meaningfully involved – peace agreements are more likely to be reached and more likely to last.

In the last few years, Italy has stepped up its efforts to mainstream the participation of women in peace processes. We are strongly engaged in consolidating our Mediterranean Women Mediators Network, which responds to the pressing need to foster women’s participation in peace processes, mediation efforts and peacebuilding in the region.

Promoting gender equality must go hand in hand with deterring violence. UN peacekeeping operations are tasked with protecting civilians, and women peacekeepers play a key role in this regard. Indeed, they make the difference: by accessing communities and creating relationships of trust with local populations, in particular with the most vulnerable categories.

Italy firmly supports the Responsibility to protect principles and welcomes the inclusion of the R2P item in the annual agenda of the General Assembly. Our regular financial support to the UN Office for the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect is testament to our commitment. Be reassured that you can count on Italy’s support.

Thank you