Discorso pronunciato dall’Ambasciatore Sebastiano Cardi, Rappresentante Permanente dell’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite, al Dibattito Aperto in Consiglio di Sicurezza sul “Donne, Pace e Sicurezza: la violenza sessuale nei conflitti come tattica di guerra e terrorismo” —
Señor Vice Ministro,
De antemano, quiero felicitarme con Uruguay por la organización de este importante debate abierto sobre un tema estrictamente interconectado con la paz y la seguridad internacional.
I would also like to thank the Deputy Secretary-General, the Special Adviser Adama Dieng and Ms. Mina Jaf for their briefings.
Italy aligns with the statements to be delivered by the EU and by Canada on behalf of the Group of Friends on Women, Peace and Security.
In today’s conflicts, civilians are increasingly caught in the crossfire. Conflict-related sexual violence used to cause displacement; affect reproduction and ethnicity; deter opposition; offer troop incentives and undermine social and community cohesion.
Over the past years concerns about the use of sexual violence have increased in two specific instances: first, the widespread and systematic use of sexual violence by terrorist and violent extremist groups. Second, the increase in flows of people fleeing from conflict has increased migrants’ risk of falling prey to human traffickers, including by being victim of sexual abuse and exploitation.
As recognized in resolutions 2242 (2015) and 2331 (2016), conflict-resolution and counter-terrorism strategies must include measures to protect and empower women and girls.
We need to better implement the instruments that we already have, to decisively prevent, render accountable those responsible, and provide assistance to victims.
Sexual and gender-based violence is not inevitable. Prevention begins in times of peace with strong legal framework and solid institutions. It also begins by using effectively some readily available tools, such as the framework of analysis of atrocity crimes, a tool that we have supported since its inception, aimed at identifying and preventing atrocity crimes by using early warning indicators, such as sexual violence.
Prevention will fail if there are no consequences to these crimes. Conflict-related sexual violence cannot be pardoned. The international community has taken increasing steps to put an end to impunity and the International Criminal Court is crucial to this effort. The Statute of the ICC expressly lists various forms of sexual and gender-based crimes as underlying acts of both crimes against humanity and war crimes.
The establishment by the ICC Prosecutor of accountability for sexual violence as one of its key strategic goals and the historic verdict of the ICC in the case against Jean-Pierre Bemba are steps in the right direction. We must continue to empower the International Criminal instances, when the national jurisdictions fail or are unable to deliver justice.
Similarly, we must strengthen accountability of systematic violations by ISIL/DAESH, including of sexual and gender-based violence; sexual slavery; abduction and human trafficking, as in the case of the Yazidi population.
We agree that the Security Council, in its relevant sanctions committees and subsidiary bodies, should expand designation criteria for perpetrators of sexual violence in the context of armed conflict or terrorism. We successfully included such a clause in resolution 2239 on the Central African Republic earlier this year.
Building national capacities is also central for strengthening training in order to address these crimes. This is what we are doing through the Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units (CoESPU) in Vicenza which provides high-quality training and specialized courses for peacekeepers on the “prevention and investigation of sexual and gender-based violence”.
Sexual violence has emerged as a constant of the new cycle based on conflict, trafficking in persons and migration. Migrants, especially women and girls, are highly vulnerable to trafficking for the purposes of sexual and labor exploitation.
In our efforts to manage the unprecedented migration flows in the Mediterranean, Italy recently adopted a new law on the protection of foreign unaccompanied minors that provides minors with specific assistance, including legal assistance, cultural mediation services, identification and promotes family reunification.
Finally, Mr. President, as I said, prevention and assistance to victims are not enough without accountability of perpetrators: only when sexual violence will become visibly more costly, will there be a significant step forward towards the eradication of this scourge.