Discorso pronunciato dall’Ambasciatore Inigo Lambertini, Vice Rappresentante Permanente dell’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite, al briefing in Consiglio di Sicurezza sul mantenimento della pace e della sicurezza internazionali —
Thank you, Madame President and thank you for organizing this debate. I think this is the first time the Security Council holds a meeting focused only on human rights; there is always a first time. I would also like to thank the Secretary General for his remarks.
Today’s meeting fits perfectly with our holistic vision of “security” in which peace, sustainable development and the respect of human
rights reinforce each other. It is also consistent with the continuous growing attention the Security Council has progressively devoted to human rights, in acknowledgment of their relevance to the maintenance of international peace and security.
There are different opinions as to whether human rights fall within the scope of action of this Council. While fully respecting the
different mandates of relevant UN bodies, it is hard to deny the crucial relevance of human rights in our daily working conflict prevention, conflict management and post-conflict scenarios prevention.
First, prevention. Human rights abuses are often the most effective early warning sign of instability, especially when they escalate into atrocity crimes. A lot of examples have been made by other colleagues already. I would just highlight the example of the Global
Study on the implementation of resolution 1325 demonstrated that increasing levels of domestic violence and the specific vulnerability of women to gender-based violence within and outside the home often reflect growing tensions and militarization in society as a whole. These specific issues can be valuable indicators and sources of information if captured as elements of early warning mechanisms for preventive action.
Second, conflict management. Human rights violations are often one of the root causes of conflict and almost invariably one of its
prominent features. This is particularly true today with non-State armed groups resorting to gross human rights violations as a tactic of war. ISIL and its affiliates, for instance, are using sexual violence as a terrorist tactic to advance their strategic and ideological objectives. This is why the Security Council has recognized the victims of sexual violence as victims of terrorism. Children are increasingly employed as soldiers; for this reason the Council has a working group on Children in Armed Conflict.
During Italy previous term in the Security Council in 2008, the Council adopted resolution 1820, the first one to recognize the connection between international security and sexual violence. And today we should look into trafficking of human beings as well as trafficking in and destruction of cultural heritage as ways to undermine the fundamental rights of individuals and communities and as the outcome and a precursor for long term conflict and instability.
Third, post conflict scenario. The Security Council has often been mindful of human rights violations to articulate its response either in
deciding the mandate of its peacekeeping operations or adopting sanctions also on the ground of serious human rights violations.
Against this backdrop, notwithstanding the State’s primary responsibility to respect human rights, we believe the Security Council has a role to play, in synergy with the UN bodies that have the primary task of monitoring and assessing human rights, in particular the Human Rights Council.
In this regard, let me make some operational suggestions along the above-mentioned lines.
First, prevention needs information: the Security Council should devise, together with the Human Rights Council and other involved
actors, a more systematic use of human rights information as an early warning mechanism, and as a crucial element of sustainable and long term armed conflict prevention efforts. Only if human rights become our DNA, will we be better equipped to effectively prevent and tackle crisis situations. We support the Human Rights Up Front Initiative — which aims to establish a cultural change,
a mindset, that mainstreams human rights in all our work, including in the Security Council — as well as the Framework of Analysis, which aims to assess the risk of crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and ethnic cleansing from an early warning perspective.
We therefore believe that the information provided to the Council by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, the Special Representatives on Children and Armed Conflicts and on Sexual Violence is extremely useful to better tackle crises we already follow, and to get meaningful insight into countries that are not on the agenda of the Security Council, but where the situation may deteriorate and escalate to violence. Their briefings to the Council should be done on a more regular basis.
As other Countries, Italy has joined a declaration to reinforce the cooperation between the human rights and the peace and security
pillars and between the Security Council and the Human Rights Council. It is one of the objectives of our candidature to the Human Rights Council for the 2019 – 2021 term. For instance, we would welcome regular briefings by the President of the Human Rights Council to the Security Council.
Two other informative tools at the disposal of this Council are visiting missions and Arria formulas. Visiting missions should include a
human rights focus, as was the case last March when the mission in the Lake Chad Basin monitored and assessed also the human rights situation of displaced people, of women and children victims of sexual violence. I was there, it was really impressive. Arrias provide the Council with additional information and interaction with civil society. We look forward to the meeting with the Commission of Inquiry on Syria to be held this Friday.
Second, operational measures. When reacting to a conflict, the Security Council should provide peace operations with a strong human rights mandate, as is now often the case in light of the specific needs.
Sanctions are another tool used to address persistent patterns of human rights violations and we support the inclusion of sexual
violence as a separate criterion for sanctions decided in the most recent renewal of sanctions in CAR. A more systematic use of sanctions, rather than on a case-by-case basis, against individuals who have committed gross human rights violations could be also a strong deterrent in preventing new atrocities.
Third, accountability for the most serious crimes. This form of action may seem to come too late, after conflict erupts and crimes on a
large scale are committed. However, if the Council acts consistently in bringing perpetrators to justice, justice itself can become a relevant dissuading tool for the prevention of human rights violations. Useful examples of such approach can be found in the international tribunals for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and for Rwanda (ICTR), established by this Council, and in the work of the International Criminal Court. Accountability for the crimes committed in Syria should be established and perpetrators be brought to
We understand that at times Member States feel that such efforts are a form of interference that undermines national sovereignty. But what really threatens State sovereignty is violence and conflict — and the Council also has to help Member States to prevent their
To conclude: is there a situation on the agenda of this Council that does not include serious violations of human rights? The Council
has a wide array of tools at its disposal to maintain peace and security, and to prevent and respond to gross human rights violations. The Code of Conduct and the French/Mexican initiative on the restraint of the use of veto are among these tools. Ultimately, the unity of the Security Council is the crucial factor to achieve the core objective of this Council: the protection of civilians.