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International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Farnesina and its foreign network fully join the awareness-raising campaign “UNITE! Activism to End Violence against Women & Girls. Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!”, promoted by UN Women, which in 2022 focuses on the fundamental contribution given by movements, organisations and players of civil society – including activist women and girls – to raise public awareness of these issues. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation confirms it will strive to achieve gender equality and urges everyone to take important steps towards such goal, which no country in the world can currently claim to have achieved.

In many regions of the world, especially the ones that experience armed conflicts and emergency situations, women, girls and girl children are still suffering discrimination, violence, abuse and exploitation. The plight of women, but also, speculatively, the talent, the courage and the contribution women can give to the creation of more inclusive and resilient societies is the key topic of some of the worst crises on the international stage, from Afghanistan to Ethiopia, from Ukraine to Iran. The consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, the wars and the lengthy crises have compounded the pre-existing vulnerabilities and considerably contributed to an increase in domestic violence and abuse. UN data tell us that, still today, one woman in three has suffered abuse and violence, either physical or psychological, in their life. In 2021, one woman in ten has been victim of domestic violence.

In view of these alarming figures, Italy once again firmly condemns all forms of discrimination and violence against women, deeming it a serious, unacceptable phenomenon that gravely hinders the achievement of gender equality, the proper enjoyment of rights and personal fulfilment.

The fight against all forms of discrimination, violence and abuse against women and girls is a priority of Italy’s foreign policy action, which the Farnesina is pursuing at a diplomatic-negotiations level and through emergency and development cooperation initiatives, as proven by the many international campaigns, such as the one to eliminate female genital mutilation (FGM), as well as child and forced marriage. Italy has always been at the forefront of this battle.

Eliminating all forms of violence against women and ensuring the empowerment of women are the major pillars of Italy’s foreign policy and cooperation actions, which were included in the priorities of the most recent Italian mandate at the United Nations Human Rights Council (2019-2021), of the Italian Presidency of the G20 in 2021 (featuring the first high-profile Conference dedicated to women’s empowerment and an event specifically dedicated to Afghan women, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly) and of the semester of the Italian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (November 2021-May 2022), under which Italy supports and promotes the “Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence” (also known as the “Istanbul Convention“).

The ongoing conflicts in several regions of the world prove once again that, in situations of war and emergency, women and girls are particularly exposed to the risk of violence and abuse. Hence the need to continue to step up our efforts, along with all the stakeholders of the International Community, including civil society, in order to uproot this unacceptable phenomenon, once and for all.

Regarding the internal organisation of working methods, the Farnesina continues to promote equal opportunities and gender equality, as proven by the adoption, last year, of Circular letter no.3/2021, through which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation complies with the highest standards in terms of promoting gender equality. Likewise, by adopting, on 18 January, Circular letter n.1/2022 on the update of working methods and organisational wellbeing, it reasserted the need to constantly, on a daily basis, ensure the tangible enforcement of the constitutional principle of equality, which forbids discrimination and actively promotes effective equality.