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Governo Italiano

Human Rights and Cooperation: three initiatives focused on women



Human Rights and Cooperation: three initiatives focused on women

The protection of human rights is a theme that is transversal to all the actions performed by the Italian Cooperation service around the world. On the international Human Rights Day, alongside the issues traditionally upheld by Italy, such as promoting a universal moratorium on the death penalty, mention should also be made of several specific actions to protect the rights of women and girls already put in place together with the United Nations Agencies.

One of Italy’s key commitments in this respect is represented by the struggle against female genital mutilations. In a 14-year-long effort together with the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme, Italy has allocated 23 million euros, a contribution that ranks our Country among the top donors. The aim of the Programme is to reduce this practice among girls from 0 to 15 years of age and favour the total elimination of female mutilations in at least one country. In 2013, the Foreign Ministry’s Directorate General for Development Cooperation, in association with the UNFPA and UNICEF, organised an international conference in Rome entitled “Intensifying global efforts for the elimination of female genital mutilations”. Thirty governments, parliaments and representatives of civil society organisations closed the Conference by signing Moving Forward, a declaration later cited by the United Nations General Assembly. The document, in addition to setting forth initiatives to advance the abandonment of the practice of mutilations, also affirms the right of girls and women not to be discriminated. The Joint Programme has achieved tangible results: 13 Countries have passed a regulatory framework to eliminate the practice, 17 Countries have created a national coordinating mechanism in this respect and 12 Countries have a dedicated budget heading and targeted programmes. In these Countries, 2.3 million girls and women have received protection and access to welfare services and more than 25 million individuals belonging to 18,000 communities in 15 Countries have uttered the “Declaration of Abandonment”.    

Another action of the Italian Development Cooperation service in 2018 in favour of women provided medical services and economic advice to the women struck by the war in Syria, especially in the Raqqa Governorate. In this case, the project was promoted jointly with the UNFPA and with the UN Development Program (UNDP) and started off thanks to the 2-million-euro fund allocated to the victims of gender violence. In addition to medical assistance, the women received education and training in order to start up small businesses in the agricultural sector and thus better meet the needs of their family units.

In 2018, the Italian Development Cooperation service also implemented an action plan to help displaced people in the Nineveh Plains, in Iraq’s autonomous region of Kurdistan. The specific beneficiaries of the help provided through UNICEF were the girls kidnapped by ISIS/Daesh who received medical and psychological assistance after they were released.

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