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Consiglio di Sicurezza – Dibattito Aperto su “Peace Operations and Human Rights”

Discorso pronunciato dall’Italia al Dibattito Aperto del Consiglio di Sicurezza su “Peace Operations and Human Rights” —


Mr. President,

Italy aligns itself with the statement submitted by the European Union, and would like to add a few remarks in its national capacity.

We welcome the organization of this open debate and appreciate the initiative launched by Denmark for a study, conducted by OHCHR, on this important subject.

Human rights violations are both a root cause and a consequence of conflicts, and respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law is key to ensuring sustainable peace and security. As the UN Secretary General recalled in his Call to Action for human rights, “there is a well-documented correlation between a society’s enjoyment of and commitment to hu­man rights and its resilience to crises.”

It is, therefore, an important achievement that human rights have constantly been addressed in Security Council’s mandates and represent a hallmark of UN peace operations. As the Secretary General’s “Action for Peacekeeping” clearly states, “lasting progress in strengthening security, national reconciliation, the rule of law, human rights and sustainable development needs to occur in parallel’’.

Peacekeeping missions can effectively contribute to the realization of human rights. Most of the missions authorized by the UNSC accomplish human rights tasks through their human rights components, supporting political and peace processes, conflict resolution and the protection of civilians. Their contribution in reporting violations, monitoring compliance, protecting and assisting vulnerable people and helping State institutions in building their own capacities is essential. Therefore, it is crucial that human rights components be adequately funded and have the capacity to undertake their tasks. The Security Council should ensure that UN Peacekeeping Operations have clear and realistic mandates, encompassing the protection of human rights, and the General Assembly, on its part, should allocate adequate resources.

Our efforts in strengthening the PKOs impact on the Protection of Civilians must continue, fulfilling the commitments we have undertaken in the framework of the Action for Peacekeeping initiative. To this end, peacekeepers must be adequately trained and equipped in order to fully implement their protection of civilians’ mandate. As the top Western Troop-Contributing Country for peacekeeping operations, Italy promptly endorsed the Kigali Principles on the Protection of Civilians, and we invite other Member States to follow suit. We believe that effective protection of civilians requires properly trained troops, adequate equipment and a strong political commitment. Since 2005, Italy has trained, through the Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units in Vicenza (COESPU),more than 10,000 units of police personnel, many of whom are deployed in peacekeeping operations in Africa. We will continue to play our part in providing training and offering capacity building to military, police and judicial officers from all over the world.

Italy also supports the incorporation into UN Peace Operations of gender policies and women’s rights perspectives as a cross-cutting dimension in the implementation of their mandates, including through the deployment of gender advisers. Our experience on the ground, especially in Southern Lebanon, shows that the interaction between female peacekeepers and local women populations is always fruitful and conducive to a better environment. The creation of Uniformed Women’s Networks must also be seen as a mechanism through which dialogue with female organizations in the host Country can be successfully fostered.

Prevention should always be prioritized, in particular with regards to vulnerable groups, such as children. Child protection should be main streamed into the mandates of all UN peacekeeping operations, starting from targeted specialized pre-deployment training of peacekeepers, a practice that Italy is spearheading and supporting at the CoESPU in Vicenza. We must also ensure that Child Protection Adviser positions in UN operations be duly staffed and budgeted, so that they have the means to monitor, report and respond to grave violations.

Mr. President,

the Covid-19 pandemicis a human crisis of unprecedented scale, seriously affecting health, profoundly disrupting the livelihood and overall wellbeing of people all over the world and- last but certainly not least –gravely impacting the enjoyment of human rights. UN field missions, through their human rights components, can contribute in a substantive way to responding to this challenge. It is our duty, as Member States, to fully support this endeavor.

Thank you.