Italy aligns itself with the statement made by the EU, and I would like to make the following remarks in my national capacity.
Italy is the first Troop and Police Contributor for Peacekeeping operation in the WEoG. We are also among the original subscribers of the Kigali Declaration for the protection of civilians. In essence, we attach the utmost importance to the peacekeeping operations and their stabilizing effects. I confirm Italy’s full support to the zero tolerance policy against sexual exploitation and abuses, in particular the various proposals on prevention, enforcement, and remedial action for such a scourge. We very much welcome the adoption of UNSC Resolution 2272, GA Resolution 70/286, as well as the strengthening of the Conduct and Discipline Unit at the Department for Field Support.
We strongly believe in the importance of pre-deployment training to carry out peacekeeping mandates. In this regard, Italy’s Carabinieri Corps has developed unique training capacities in this specific field through programs offered by CoESPU (Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units), which has, to date, trained almost 9,000 units coming from 98 different countries. In particular, every CoESPU course provides specific modules on operators’ code of conduct, on gender mainstreaming, and on combatting sexual exploitation and abuse, and additionally offers other training activities, such as Protection of Civilians, to instill an understanding among military personnel of the “Operational Concept of Civilian Protection”; UN Formed Police Units – FPU, for the training of FPU staff to be deployed to a theater of operations; International Military Police, for training foreign military personnel as military police of deployed units and classes on the fundaments of combatting violence against vulnerable categories in crisis areas.
Following the growing need underlined inter alia by UNSCR 1325, and subsequent documents up to Resolution 2272 to provide personnel deployed in peacekeeping missions the ideal tools to correctly manage issues regarding vulnerable categories, CoESPU launched in 2014 a course on Gender Protection in Peace Support Operations. The purpose of this program is to: disseminate knowledge within the framework of peace support missions about the difficulties encountered by vulnerable subjects; develop competencies in dealing with discriminatory behavior towards the latter; raising awareness of best practices in this field; and develop capacities for conducting investigations into sexual violence and the human slave trade.
To this end the Vicenza-based Center has introduced the role of a “Gender & Child Protection Advisor”, who contributes to training peace operators on gender-related issues before their deployment. The course on Gender Protection, ongoing since 2014, is already in its fourth edition. The fifth will begin in early 2017. Besides these specific courses, all of the program offerings at the Vicenza Center provide training modules on Gender Protection.
The topic of sexual exploitation and abuse has the potentiality of undermining the legitimacy and credibility of this very Organization if we are not acting now in a resolute way to implement the zero tolerance policy, as well as the zero impunity for all personnel in UN and other international peace operations that have been committing such heinous acts. We need, now more than ever, to put in place a coral effort to stop and properly punish such acts at national as well as the UN level.
I thank you.