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Thanks Ambassador,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, allow me to thank you, Amb. Al-Mouallimi, for organizing this side-event – which takes place at a crucial moment: the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

I am particularly convinced that our discussion will allow us to take stock of progress made and to exchange views, ideas, and experiences.

Ambassador, Excellencies, Colleagues,

Over the last two months, during the general debate and with regard to specific relevant initiatives, including the traditional UN Resolution on the Rights of the Child, we have emphasized the need: to focus on freedom from violence; to secure a priority role for the rights of the child within the Post-2015 Development Agenda; to identify good/best practices to be shared; and, overall, to focus on abuse and violence against children – which remains of particular concern, especially when considering the risk of misuse of new social media.

We do appreciate this initiative and its inner focus on the need for increasing attention to protect children’s rights, to which Italy attaches – as per its own tradition – the utmost importance.

In this regard, allow me to briefly recall Italy’s contribution to the adoption of specific EU Guidelines on Children involved in Armed Conflict under the previous rotating presidency of the EU (2003), as currently reflected in our support, inter alia, for the UN campaign, entitled “Children, Not Soldiers”.

Since 2009, we have embarked on the global campaign to fight and eradicate FGM. More recently, we committed to stopping the practice of early/forced marriage.

Likewise, we do believe that an inclusive approach should be secured when considering children with disabilities, whose situation merits specific attention by the international community.

Turning to the domestic context, I would like to draw your attention to some new measures in accordance with UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and other relevant international instruments, provided that Italian law expressly envisages the protection of children and adolescents from any form of negligence, violence or exploitation:

· Considering the massive inflow of migrants, Italy has set up specific Reception Centres for unaccompanied minors. They benefit from a wide set of protection measures. A special fund (€ 40 million for 2014) has been established to this end. When they come of age, they are granted residence permit for study or labour purposes, and are supported through individual integration paths

· Further I would like to mention, “A pathway to Foster Care”, aimed at promoting family foster care as a qualitative intervention to guarantee the fundamental right of each child to grow up as part of a family. In this regard we share the view of many in this room about the valuable contribution that families make to strengthening our societies and the need to develop policies to support their role. But for these policies to be successful, they must also be inclusive

· Within the Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2012-2015), we-Save the Children-Italy launched the campaign, entitled “Educate – do not punish”, aimed inter alia at developing positive parenting.

· In order to guarantee the full rehabilitation of the juvenile detainees and to meet their needs, youth and young adults, both under pre-trial detention or sentenced to detention penalty are now entitled to serve their detention penalty in juvenile detention facilities, until the age of 25.

Needless to say, specific attention is paid to gender dimension, meaning, inter alia, focus on tailor-made paths for girls. To conclude – also in light of upcoming major events taking place in 2015 on girls and women’s rights -, we keep high a gender perspective in all relevant initiatives and do want to remind that all of those children are children of the United Nations and deserve our protection and support.

I thank your for attention and wish you a fruitful debate!