An extremely positive talk took place between Vice Foreign Minister Marina Sereni and the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict Virginia Gamba. The safeguarding and protection of children in the war zones of the planet is a vast humanitarian problem, made more serious today by the health emergency. Italy has made this issue one of its priorities in all multilateral fora.
"COVID-19 is increasing the exposure of children in armed conflict to further forms of violence, exploitation and abuse. All this make even more difficult to ensure their right to education and the protection of their physical and mental health," said the Vice Minister. She added: "It is therefore essential to further intensify our efforts, in particular, to ensure that education and health services and facilities are protected and respected in accordance with international humanitarian law. Italy is actively working on this in all its offices and venues".
The Vice Minister explained that Italy attaches the utmost importance to the activities of the Special Representative. According to the latest Annual Report of Virginia Gamba's Office, there were approximately 25,000 serious violations against children worldwide in 2019. Unfortunately, it was pointed out during the conversation that many cases are not detected, also because of the difficulties of access that humanitarian organisations encounter on site in conflict situations.
Sereni then assured Italian support for the campaign launched by the Special Representative's office "Act to protect children affected by armed conflict". Furthermore, Vice Minister Sereni informed Virginia Gamba that the Italian Fourth National Action Plan for "Women, Peace and Security", which will be adopted shortly, will also contain specific references to girls in conflict and post-conflict contexts.