Third Committee, 14th plenary meeting – Item 64 – Promotion and protection of the rights of children
10 October 2022
Statement of Italy, delivered by Ambassador Gianluca Greco, Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Italy thanks for the opportunity to address the rights of children item and would like to focus on the Children and Armed Conflict agenda.
This agenda has become today even more relevant, in astonishing and dramatic scale, in a context of rising conflicts and violence around the world, where children continue to be disproportionately affected by armed conflicts, suffering violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law.
It is unbearable that children have become frontline targets for widespread killing, trafficking, sexual violence, abductions and other violations under the eyes of the international community. We relentlessly reiterate that all perpetrators of grave violations against children must be held accountable, regardless of whether they are state forces or non-state armed groups, and we reaffirmed our strong support to international justice, monitoring and accountability mechanisms, including the work and the independent role of the International Criminal Court.
the truth is that children, in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and regardless of their legal status, must have the right to enjoy their childhood in stable and peaceful societies, where they can feel safe to learn and become those actors of positive change, peace and sustainable development that we all, collectively, call on them and expect them to become.
On the contrary, attacks against schools and children’s facilities, which constitute one of the six grave violations committed against children during armed conflict, are on the rise – as shown in this year’s Report of the Secretary General on CAAC. This has a disproportionate and multiple impact, since not only it jeopardizes their physical security and access to education and education facilities, especially for girls, in the short to medium term. It also affects their psychological and mental health and exacerbates their vulnerability in the long term, as a result of the overlapping of armed conflicts with other crises, such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, children on the move, refugees children and forcibly displaced, often unaccompanied minors, are exposed to a higher risk of further suffering stemming from trafficking, military recruitment, abduction, sexual exploitation, and harmful practices including children early and forced marriage. Italy remains strongly committed to preventing and eliminating all forms of violence and harmful practices against children and we are deeply alarmed by the data referring to their increase.
We praise the unwavering and incessant work of Special Representative Virginia Gamba and we stress the recent contribution offered by the guidelines that we presented together in July and that was produced by the SRSG’s Office in consultation with UNICEF, the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, and the Department of Peace Operations. The Note aims at strengthening the implementation of resolution 2225 (2015) encompassing the aspects of monitoring, reporting, advocacy and dialogue with parties in conflict and providing additional tools to practitioners to address this complex grave violation of children’s rights in times of war.
In order to break the cycle of violations affecting children, we must take a systematic and coherent approach, from prevention to accountability to reintegration. We call for the widest possible support to the “Safe Schools Declaration”, in order to mitigate the consequences of armed conflicts on education, students and other educational personnel as well as on educational infrastructures.
We also reaffirm our endorsement of the Paris Principles on Children Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups, and the Vancouver Principles on Peacekeeping and the Prevention of the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers, being conscious of the crucial importance of integrating these principles into the wider peacekeeping agenda. Italy will also continue to support key global actors such us UNICEF, UNFPA, WHO, the Global Partnership for Education, the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization and other partners with a view to ensuring that no child is left behind.