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General Assembly – Third Committee

Statement delivered by Ambassador Mariangela Zappia, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the 3rd Committee Meeting on “Strengthening the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme, in particular its technical cooperation capacity” —


Mr. Chair,

I am honored to take the floor to give an account of Italy’s engagement in the work of the Third Committee on Crime prevention, Item 109 of the agenda. During the recent General Debate of the General Assembly we heard many calls to reinforce international cooperation in the fight against international crime and terrorism, a challenge that directly impacts the entire UN membership. Effective action against international crime is therefore a central issue for the work of both the General Assembly and the Security Council.

Three characteristics of this challenge have particular relevance for the work of this Committee:
1. ties between organized crime and terrorism;
2. the impact of transnational criminal networks on international peace and security;
3. the nexus between sustainable development and the fight against organized crime and terrorism.

Against this backdrop, there is a clear need to promote full implementation of the Palermo Convention and its Protocols, which are essential components of any crime prevention and criminal justice program. This call emerged clearly from the conclusions of the high level GA debate which took place on May 23rd this year, on the 15th anniversary of the Anti-Corruption Convention.

Going forward, a vital concern that must be considered is how best to equip the Palermo Convention with an effective and sustainable review mechanism.

More broadly, other issues that this committee should pay particular attention to in the current session of work are:
• Countering trafficking in persons and the smuggling of migrants;
• Defending the status and the rights of women and minors, with special attention to the victims of crime;
• Protecting cultural heritage and addressing related crimes;
• Fighting corruption and financial crimes; and
• Responding to the abuse of the internet and social media by criminal and terrorist groups.

We wholeheartedly support the establishment and the work of Central Authorities and Specialized Agencies, which help foster effective judicial cooperation at the international level. Italy has been a pioneer in establishing such structures, specifically in the fight against organized crime, and we are willing to offer our experience and expertise for the benefit of the wider UN membership.

Regional cooperation also has a crucial role to play: in addition to UN bodies, we work closely with all relevant European institutions to strengthen our common action at every level.

Italy remains steadfast in its support for Goal 16 of Agenda 2030, which aims for genuinely transparent societies and institutions. This ambitious objective can be achieved by working along three interconnected tracks:

a) Disseminating a culture of legality, with a particular focus on youth and education. This issue will be one of the main themes of the 14th UN Congress on Criminal Justice, to be held in Japan in April 2020 ;

b) Improving access to justice, including by taking advantage of the opportunities offered by information technology, making it available to those that would otherwise have no recourse;

c) Advancing the protection of human rights both for victims of criminal actions as well as for those who are responsible for such actions before the justice system.

Mr Chair,

all of the issues I have mentioned will be included in the draft Resolution on crime prevention and criminal justice that, as in past years, Italy will be honored to submit to this Committee for negotiation in the coming weeks.

Last year 120 Countries sponsored Resolution 72/196. We trust that this positive result can be further improved during the course of this session though open, transparent and inclusive negotiations.

Finally, Mr Chair, as a candidate to the Human Rights Council for 2019-2021, I wish to reaffirm Italy’s unwavering commitment to prevent and combat international crimes and impunity. As enshrined in our Constitutional Char, protecting and promoting human rights is at the heart of Italy’s policy and action at the national and international level.