To celebrate the International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers, Italy forcefully reaffirms that enrolling child soldiers is an aberrant practice: every child, anywhere in the world, is entitled to live safely and enjoy his/her childhood and innocence, sheltered from the fighting, violence and abuse.
The pandemic has further exacerbated pre-existing criticalities in areas of armed conflict, making it all the more difficult to guarantee the right to education: according to the latest Report by the UN Secretary-General Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflicts, a total of 26,425 cases of serious violations and abuses of the fundamental rights of children living in situations of armed conflict were recorded in 2020, including in particular 856 attacks against schools and hospitals.
Therefore, it is necessary to renew our commitment to assure the safety of children living in situations of armed conflict in order to defend their fundamental rights. At the last four-yearly Conference of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent in 2019, Italy made a solemn pledge in this sense, open to other Countries, which was signed by a record number of States and social society organizations in only a very few days, becoming the most widely supported commitment in the whole Conference.
In 2015 we signed the “Safe Schools Declaration”, and we encourage other States to sign and enforce it, as was reaffirmed at the Fourth Safe Schools Conference hosted in Nigeria in October 2021. In addition to providing specific training modules for our armed forces, Italy organizes international awareness-raising events on the issue of children in armed conflicts.
In its commitment to foster the rights and safety of children in armed conflicts, Italy dialogues and cooperates with social society organizations such as the “Universities Network for Children in Armed Conflict”, the first international inter-university network fostering the protection of children’s rights and safety in armed conflict promoted by the University of Perugia, the Italian Red Cross, and Save the Children.