Statement delivered by Ambassador Maurizio Massari, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the Security Council Open Debate on “Accountability as Prevention, Ending Cycles of Sexual Violence in Conflict” (Women and peace and security) —
Italy aligns itself with the statement submitted by the European Union, the Group of Friends of WPS, and the UN LGBTI Core Group, and would like to add a few remarks in a national capacity.
The protection and promotion of women and girls’ rights and the fight against all forms of sexual and gender-based violence, both in times of peace and armed conflict, is a longstanding commitment of Italy; we staunchly support the mandate of the SRSG Patten and the work of the Team of Experts on the Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict, through our pledge in favour of the related Multi-Partner Trust Fund.
The latest Secretary General’s Report portrays a bleak picture of the current situation: in different parts of the world, State and non-State actors still use sexual violence as a tactic of war, torture, and terrorism. We are also particularly concerned by the increase in incidents of rape and other forms of sexual violence against children in 2021, based on the data collected by the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism, with growing instances of girls affected by the violation.
I take this opportunity to reiterate Italy’s firm condemnation of the unjustified aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine, and our full support to Ukraine and its people. We are deeply concerned by the repeated attacks on civilians, including women and children, and by the testimonies and reports of conflict-related sexual violence against women and girls, including rapes, perpetrated by the Russian armed forces.
Conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence, including rapes, are heinous violations of human rights and war crimes. We must spare no efforts to prevent and combat these brutal forms of violence, support survivors, and bring perpetrators to justice.
Let me outline Italy’s five priorities:
First, prevention of widespread and systematic sexual violence begins in times of peace, through the adoption of national laws that should be robust enough so as to prevent abuses and violations in wartime. There exists a solid international framework that needs to be implemented.
Second, we need a strong paradigm shift to uphold a culture of gender equality, fully promote women’s empowerment and their equal, full, and meaningful participation in decision making processes. Female leadership opportunities are essential to both prevention and reconciliation at the national and international level, involving women and grass-roots civil society organizations.
Third: In line with UNSC resolution 2467, we need survivor-centric approaches to prioritize the rights and needs of victims of sexual and gender-based violence.
Fourth: UN peacekeeping missions play a crucial role in preventing and combating conflict-related sexual violence, within their mandate to protect civilians. To this end, over the last years, Italy has been providing troops with training on gender issues, and has been promoting a stronger women presence in the peacekeepers’ ranks.
Fifth: the International Community should fight against impunity and hold the perpetrato of CRSV accountable. To this end, we need to assist conflict-torn Countries and guide them in reforming their judicial systems by strengthening the rule of law and their accountability mechanisms.
Let me conclude by reaffirming Italy’s strong commitment to the prevention and tackling of sexual violence in conflicts. We will continue to support the work of the Secretary-General and that of his Special Representative in order to pursue better and increasingly tangible results in this field.
I thank you.