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Intervento dell’Italia al Dibattito Aperto del Consiglio di Sicurezza sui Bambini e i Conflitti Armati

Pietro

I would like to thank the Republic of Korea for organizing this annual Open Debate, as well as the Eight Secretary General of the United Nations, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict and the Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF for their briefings. Italy aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union and by the group of friends on Protection of Children in Armed Conflicts and would like to add the following remarks in its national capacity.

 

In accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, all children, regardless of their legal status, should have the right to a safe and peaceful childhood.

We are deeply concerned about the significant rise in verified grave violations highlighted in the 2023 Secretary General’s Report, noting a shocking 21 percent increase from 2022. This alarming trend is aggravated by factors such as the denial of humanitarian access and attacks on schools and hospitals.

International law mandates that States and non-State armed groups must allow and facilitate the rapid and unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians in need, including children. Schools and hospitals are crucial, providing children with psychological support and social protection, and attacks on these institutions are among the six grave violations against children in conflict, severely impacting their immediate and long-term health.

The intersection of armed conflicts with crises like climate change further increases children’s vulnerability, emphasizing the need to protect those in emergency situations. Forced displacement heightens the risk of recruitment, abduction, trafficking, sexual exploitation, and harmful practices, including early and forced marriage.

To stop the cycle of violations against children, a systematic and coherent approach is necessary: from prevention to accountability to reintegration.

In this context, Italy emphasizes the importance of the Paris Principles and the Vancouver Principles, highlighting the need to integrate these principles into the broader peacekeeping agenda. Our actions should aim to provide a child-rights-based response, prioritizing the best interests of children in all aspects of their lives and treating children formerly recruited by armed groups as victims.

We also emphasize the “Safe Schools Declaration” to lessen the impact of armed conflicts on education, students, educational personnel, and infrastructures, urging all parties to refrain from the military use of civilian infrastructures.

In parallel, we must address under-reported crimes like sexual violence in conflict and rape used as a tactic of war. We encourage collaboration across different UN mandates to end this plague and its severe consequences on boys and girls and to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.

Let us take this occasion to reaffirm our strong support for the CAAC mandate as a unique tool to prioritize child protection on the Council’s political agenda.

Thank you Mr. President.