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Religious Freedom – Terzi meets with NGOs: education against discrimination and violence

The protection of religious freedom and minorities around the world is “Italy’s absolute priority in its international actions”, Minister Giulio Terzi underscored in a meeting at the foreign ministry in Rome with representatives of over 30 Italian NGOs to discuss a workshop that the ministry is organizing at the UN.

“Education is key to the global promotion of a culture of dialogue and tolerance”. In particular, the minister acknowledged the essential role that NGOs and associations can play “in the area of human rights education, which is an undeniable prerequisite for the effective defence of religious minorities, whose rights and survival itself are at risk in various parts of the world”.

Terzi illustrated Italy’s efforts within the EU frame work that had contributed to setting up a task force and to rafting an operational action plan for the protection of religious freedom and minorities. The minister then explained the content and objectives of the workshop “The civil society and human rights education as a tool to promote and disseminate religious tolerance”, which the foreign ministry is organizing for 27 September at the UN in New York with a view to outlining, with public and private collaboration, a common approach to raising awareness and fostering a culture of religious freedom. The event will coincide with the opening of the 67th UN General Assembly.

We are firmly convinced”, Minister Terzi asserted, “that governments must work in close coordination with civil societies to combat discrimination and anti-religious violence that is affecting the lives of millions of people. Human rights education and training provide a perfect vehicle for the widespread dissemination of the values of tolerance and peaceful co-existence to the members of different faiths”.

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