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HUMAN RIGHTS: Defending rights in the national interest, says Terzi

The defence of human rights is “in the national interest. […] The regions where the threats to our security originate are also those where the most serious rights violations occur”. Speaking was Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi as he opened the international conference on “The Centrality of the Individual and the Protection of Human Rights in Today’s World”, by video-message. The conference was organised by the Inter-Departmental Committee for Human Rights in collaboration with Volontariato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo (VIS) and the Committee for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.

Individual freedoms are at the root of our battle

“Individual freedoms are at the root of our battle”, underscored Terzi. He pointed out that Italy plays a leading role in international initiatives to defend the weakest categories, such as women and children. However, “our work is far from finished because the gap between the principles and their actual application is still too wide”, added the minister. Terzi called for “dialogue between countries, cultures and religions” and “the promotion of education on human rights”.

In Italy too there is much to be done, warned the Chairperson of the Senate’s Human Rights Committee, Pietro Marcenaro, who noted, for example, that the offence of torture does not exist in the Italian criminal code. “Certain issues don’t just concern the less developed countries”, he underscored.

The Conference is the closing stage of the series of meetings on “Promoting Human Rights: from theory to practice”. The initiative has given about 200 undergraduates studying in Rome an opportunity to discuss key human rights issues in thematic panels with university lecturers, government officials, journalists and representatives of civil society working in this field.