La battaglia contro le mutilazioni genitali femminili e contro i matrimoni forzati e precoci sono stati al centro della riunione dell’European Parliamentary Forum (EPF), che si è svolta a Fez, in Marocco. Nel corso del suo intervento Pia Locatelli, coordinatrice dell’intergruppo Salute globale e diritti delle donne, ha ricordato quanto è stato fatto dal Parlamento italiano nel corso di questa legislatura.
Di seguito il testo dell’intervento
Dear Collegues and friends,
it is a pleasure and an honour to be here today to welcome all of you and to contribute to this Parlamentarian’s consultation on “Upholding the rights of girls, ending female genital mutilations and child marriage.
Also I am happy and honoured to be part of the network of the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development and work with EPF.
I am here today as an Italian MP and as chair of the Italian all party parliamentary group on global health and women’s rights. Our commitment is to promote global health, women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights and women’s rights in the Italian and international agenda in the field of cooperation. Our APPG has been member of the EPF network since 2012, three years after our birth in 2009.
As an Italian all-party parlaimentary group we are happy to cooperate with UNFPA and support its mandate in ensuring universal access to Sexual and Reproductive Health and I add: sexual rights.
When I started my activity as MP and even before as an MEP, I decided about the priorities of my parlamentarian activity. The priorites in the list of priorities were:
-promote and protect womens rights, including sexual rights, and rejection of violence in all its forms against women;
-to have women’s organisations and women’s movement recognized as a key actor to achieve women’s rights and gender justice.
I tried to be consistent in all my parliamentary activity
I worked in the European parliament as a member of the Women’s rights committe; I have been working even more on these topics as an Italian MP.
This “even more” is due to the cooperation with AIDOS, the Italian NGO who against the maistream (due to cultural relativism which imposed the respect of different cultures and traditions even harmful traditions)) started fighting FGMs since early ‘80s.
It was Aidos who proposed and worked to set up an all party parliamentary group on global health and women’s rights and now I can confirm that in order to be more effective, the activity of Parliaments must promote the cooperation with and include the participation of civil society.
Working with NGOs who are the real experts in many specific fields was and is crucial for us.
And I take the opportunity to thank AIDOS for the support, not only technical support, in our activity.
Some questions on the topic we want to address in this :
how can parliamentarians advocate the determinants of adolescent health and accelerate efforts to eliminate gender-related harful practises?
What good parliamentary practices can be implemented?
What personal experiences can parliamentarians share?
First of all some words to present our group:
We are 30 Mps of the two Chambers (Chamber of Deputies and the Senate) belonging to almost all Parties, (with the exception of two parties belonging to the right wing).
As I said, we address many aspects related to health and women’s rights, including the rights of girls, and unavoidably traditional and harmful practises
We dedicated our efforts to make our collegues understand that these issues, these dramatic phenomena are not far from us.
Cases of child, early and forced marriages are taking place in our country and in several European countries in relation to migration (the diaspora population)
Migrant people bring with themselves cultures, traditions and social norms. In some cases the culture of origin becomes weaker and weaker. Sometimes it becomes a matter of identity assertion and social norms of the country of origin are therefore confirmed, or even strengthened.
And we explained that we have to monitor, to track, to report on FGMs, on child marriages. Not an easy task. The most common reactionoften is: let send all of them the responsible to prison.
Our activity: the list of what we have done is boring, I will summarize:
first of all I want to mention the official presentation of the Italian edition of the “Girl Declaration”, which calls for action to make the rights of girls the centre-piece of the post-2015 development programme at the Chamber of Deputies on 14 octber 2014
This document, produced as part of the European Alliance for Girls project, implemented by some European NGOs (AIDOS, the German DSW, the French E&P and EPF. The Girl Declaration was presented to the Presidents of the Chamber of Deputies, Laura Boldrini, and of the Senate, Pietro Grasso. Highly appreciated.
Specifically on FGMs: every 6th February, the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital we take the floor in the plenary in order to draw the attention of our collegues to FGMs. And we prepare the day announcing we will take the floor on the issue by mail bombarding them. Now it is a sort of annual appointment.
And we present Motions and Resolutions
We have also held Press conferences and I want to remind a “special” which stressed the link between FGMs and the Istanbul Convention whose ratification is the first law we passed in this legislature (it is not a coincidence that we are 31% women and the speaker is a womam)
These resolutions and motions ask
– to monitor the implementation of the law no. 7 of 9 January 26, 2006 (law against FGM) and the guidelines of the December 2014 United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/C.3/69/L.22, n. 18, and the effectiveness of the measures governing their implementation in Italy;
– to begin as soon as possible to implement an institutionalised data collection system on the incidence of Female Genital Mutilation in Italy, to be able to design appropriate policies to prevent and combat FGM;
– to monitor the Regions that have been promoting specific training for health-care workers to take in and treat girls because of the physical and psychological consequences of Female Genital Mutilation, since the last survey was conducted in 2007;
– to support and fund the Regions which have been running projects within their jurisdiction to deliver projects to prevent and combat Female Genital Mutilation;
– in conjunction with the Communications Regulator and the leading media and press organs, to run regular information and awareness campaigns.
Regarding our activity on CHILD EARLY AND FORCED MARRIAGES
WE presented some motions both in the Chamber of Deputies and in the Senate.
The first one was passed in July 2015; it was unanismously approved and I want to stress the emotion raised in the plenary on the topic. Very many MPs, women and men took the floor. We had done a lot of work of preparations before the presentation in the plenary and the discussion and approval raised the attention of very many MPs.
Between the presentation and the discussion in the peanry, in order to prepare the approval we organised on june 23 June 2015, “Girl brides as a global phenomenon”: a conference on forced and/or early marriage, in cooperation with AIDOS. On that occasion we presented the videos from UNFPA : “End Child marriage” and “too young to wed”.
Another mozione was presented in the Senate on 4 October 2016, motion tabled by Valeria Fedeli on forced marriage, committing the government:
On child marriages we have become a reference point not only in Italy. As chair of the APPG I have been asked to addredd the topic in wider conferences:
For example in Lusaka on the occasion of the IPU General Assembly, on 20 March 2016
I was invited as a panellist at the Side Event on “Preventing child and forced marriage: Making the global health goals a reality for girls”, organized jointly with WHO and the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.
Another interesting experience was in Dhakka last april where we met for another General Assembly of the IPU. There we discussed the content of the new law which raises the age for marriage at 18. A good law but unfortunately it allows exceptions in respecting the minumim age ….
I raised the topic of the risk of too many “exceptions” and they accepted to annually monitor the annual exceptions and report on them in order to avoid the risk that exceptions become the rule.
And of course when we take any opportunity to address the topic: in the Conference we have recently in Rome on women and migrations on the occasion of the Italian G7 Presidency which saw the presence of MPs of 45 we addressed the topic of harmful practises calling upon decision makers to implement measures to eliminate gender based violence, including harmful practices such as child and forced marriage and female genital mutilation and / or cutting,.
WE always stress that CHILD EARLY FORCED MARRIAGES are a matter of violation of human rights, of gender violence, of utmost denial of gender equality in terms of denial of personal freedom and subjectivity.
WE stress that the first players who have paid attention to the phenomenon have been NGOs, working in the field of violence against women. Let me mention some of them: Trame di Terra, Onde, Aidos.
Another recommendation coming from these “actors on the field”, also foreseen by art. 34 of the Istanbul Convention, is the importance to know, to have data, possibly reliable data, and scientific evidence of the consequences of this practice.
Data concerning Italy are not certain, because the phenomenon is hardly controllable since these marriages take place abroad. We only have some estimates according to which in Italy every year around two thousand girls are forced to marry in the countries of origin of their families.
We have just started to verify the existence of forced marriages in refugees camps and among asylum seekers, but we are only at the beginning of this exercise.
Prevention plays a key role together with information. The first action to be taken is the involvement of different actors: schools, social workers who are in contact with migrant families, civil society and above all young girls who are the first agent of change in the communities they belong to.
Then the institutions: governments have the duty to protect female citizens from all forms of violence and introduce programmes to counter violence.
RAISING AWARENESS!!! this is the most important action for prevention. Campaigning is important and we asked the Italian government to support a new global campaign on preventing and eliminating this practice, which violates young girls’ human rights, and to fund international cooperation programmes and projects aimed at preventing and making divorce possible in case of child, early and forced marriage.