Discorso pronunciato dall’Ambasciatore Inigo Lambertini, Vice Rappresentante Permanente dell’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite, all’Evento “‘OPAC turns 18’ – Celebrazione 18mo anniversario Protocollo Opzionale alla Convenzione sui Diritti dei Bambini sul coinvolgimento dei minori nei conflitti armati” —
Ms. Virginia Gamba, Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict,
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Italy aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union and wishes to add the following remarks in a national capacity.
At the outset, I wish to thank all the organizers for convening today’s event. This is a timely occasion for the international community to discuss the important issue of children affected by armed conflict.
Substantive progress has been achieved since the Graca Machel report, thanks also to the work carried out by the various Special Representatives for Children and Armed Conflict.
As it has been already said, we have a huge normative framework in place. Now, we must ensure full implementation of our words and strengthen our efforts. We need to continue fostering the widest adhesion by States to the relevant international instruments and promote their effective implementation and enforcement, including the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflicts. We encourage Countries to do even more and make political commitments to better protect children affected by armed conflict. Endorsing initiatives like the Paris Principles and the Safe Schools Declaration – which Italy totally supports – would make a significant change in the lives of many children.
The changing nature of conflicts and their growing complexity are impacting disproportionally on children, who are the most vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, including being used as soldiers. Figures of children falling prey of traffickers, terrorist and armed groups are a call for a cohesive and urgent action for the international community.
For instance, as a member of the Security Council last year, Italy organized an Arria-formula meeting on the protection of schools in conflict situations, where we had the opportunity to hear from Joe Bishara, one of the Chibok girls kidnapped in 2014 by Boko Haram and who were able to escape from the terrorist group. Her words are still a sounding alarm of the consequences of armed conflicts on the lives of children.
During our term, we also supported the inclusion of children-protection related provisions in the mandates of the UN peace operations, as it was the case for the renewal of the MINUSMA’s mandate. It is important that peacekeeping and political missions have the necessary means to monitor, report and respond to grave violations. To this end, we must ensure that Child Protection Advisers positions are duly staffed and budgeted.
Finally, we also promoted the adoption of a resolution against human trafficking based on a victim centered approach and focusing also on migrant children and non-accompanied minors, an issue that Italy is giving special attention to also as Chairmanship-in-Office of the OSCE for 2018.
Let me conclude with a message of gratitude for the UN Agencies, starting with UNICEF, and the civil society organizations for their vital work in promoting and protecting children’s rights. Indeed, preventing and responding to the scourge of children affected by armed conflicts require synergetic and joint efforts by all stakeholders. As Graca Machel said: “The impact of armed conflict on children is everyone’s responsibility. And it must be everyone’s concern”. From our side, we remain steadfast in keeping children’s rights as a priority in the Human Rights Council, if we are elected for the term 2019 – 2021.
I thank you.