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Assemblea Generale – Riunione della Terza Commissione su “Promotion and protection of the rights of children”

Discorso pronunciato dall’Italia, alla Riunione della Terza Commissione su “Promotion and protection of the rights of children” —

Mr. Chair,

Italy aligns itself with the statement made by the European Union and wishes to add a few remarks in a national capacity.

Italy has a longstanding tradition of supporting the principle of the best interest of the child. Indeed, it is no coincidence that the Montessori method of education, named after Maria Montessori, an Italian physician and educator, was developed in Italy over 100 years ago and is now widely recognized and adopted as a leading model for fostering the social and academic skills of the child.

With this in mind, we feel that when adults make decisions, they should think about how their decisions will affect children and their future. This is why children’s care and development is a core priority for the Italian Development Cooperation, mainstreamed through the thematic areas of health, education and social inclusion.

Our approach is based on the improvement of the living conditions of children, their protection against any form of abuse as well as access to early childhood care and education. At the same time, in order to really leave no one behind, we invest in social integration and develop programs on inclusive education, training and the raising of talents. Our approach is to look at the full spectrum of child’s development, following multi-sectorial approaches. We also strongly support UNICEF, UNFPA and the other children-driven programs of the UN Development System: from early childhood protection to health, education and empowerment.

Mr. Chair,

We are particularly concerned with some international trends that affect children’s lives and that require our attention and immediate action, if we really want to implement Agenda 2030.

First and foremost is violence against children, sexual violence in particular, which can take the form of sexual abuse, harassment, rape or sexual exploitation in prostitution or pornography, and represents a gross violation of children’s rights. We call on all Member States to take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect children from sexual violence and all other forms of violence. In this regard, as members of the European Union and main sponsors, together with our GRULAC friends, we fully support the omnibus resolution “Rights of the child” and we look forward to increasing the number of cosponsors. By the same token , as members of the core group presenting the resolution on this topic, we attach the utmost importance to the fight against harmful practices like child, early and forced marriage, and female genital mutilation, which constitute a gross violation of human rights by depriving young girls of the right to choose their own future.

As a member of the Security Council in 2017, Italy strove to ensure the highest possible safeguard of children during armed conflicts, which pose a wide range of serious challenges, also by putting them at risk of neglect, exploitation, trafficking, sexual violence and abuses. We condemn with the gravest concern the recruitment, training and use within and across national borders of children in hostilities by armed groups. In this regard, let me seize this opportunity to commend the results achieved by our colleagues in the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict and by the Special Representative of the SG, Virginia Gamba.

Today, more and more children are on the move, millions of them. They are escaping war, chronic malnutrition, a general lack of opportunities. They are trying to cross borders, despite the perils of the journey. They are all at risk of becoming refugees or victims of trafficking and, as such, they are entitled to all of the fundamental human rights protections enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. All States are required to adapt their national legal framework and implement responses for child protection. Since the New York Declaration, Italy has played a leading role in the negotiations for the adoption by the UNGA of a Global Compact for a safe, orderly, and regular migration and a Global Compact for refugees by 2018. We believe that these two documents represent a useful tool to address the vulnerabilities of migrant children and refugees, including non-accompanied minors, always. Special protection should be devoted to the most vulnerable among migrants and refugees, including children and, even more vulnerable, unaccompanied and separated children.

We intend to further increase our efforts during our term on the Human Rights Council for the period 2019-2021. We are committed to be the strongest voice for children’s rights in the HRC.

I thank you.