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Evento di Alto Livello su ‘Protecting Education from Attack’

Discorso pronunciato dall’Ambasciatore Stefano Stefanile, Vice Rappresentante Permanente dell’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite,  all’Evento di Alto Livello dedicato a “Protecting Education from Attack: Scope, Impact and Response”. —

Thank you, Madame Moderator,

I welcome this very interesting debate: it is important that during the Protection of Civilians Week we have a moment dedicated to the protection of education, which is for us a fundamental component of humanitarian interventions.

Let me say that the 33rd Conference of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent, we presented a National open pledge to ensure that children can live safely and enjoy their rights even in conflict situations.

On the occasion of the Fifth Anniversary of the Safe Schools Declaration, we also want to welcome the fact that this important document has enjoyed so far a great number of endorsements and obviously, as reported by other speakers, the implementation is the key to make substantial progress.

Reference was made also to accountability, let me recall that the targeting of civilians, including students and teachers, in situations of armed conflict as well as attacks on civilian objects, such as schools, are prohibited under international law. These actions may constitute grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and could be prosecuted as war crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. This is important to recall.

During our latestmandate on the Security Council of the UN, in 2017, we engaged in keeping up the Council’s attention on this item.

We provided a contribution to reinforcing the language on this issue in all UNSC Resolutions We promoted the systematic inclusion of provisions on the protection of civilians in the mandates of peacekeeping operations, and this engagement of ours continues also in the General Assembly and we have been particularly pleased to co-sponsor the draft resolution proposed by Qatar to proclaim the International Day to protect education from attacks, and we look forward to the positive conclusion later today of the relevant silence procedure.

On the occasion of their 20th anniversary it is important to promote greater awareness of the two Optional Protocols to the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. These are relevant documents for the discussion we are having today.

Thank you so much.