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Bonino in Strasbourg – New start for Italy on human rights

A “new start”, “without giving in or compromising”: Italy intends to “invert the trend” after the Court of Human Rights’ ruling on its slowness of justice, lack of respect for the right to a defence and prison conditions. This was Minister for Foreign Affairs’ Emma Bonino’s pledge before the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe meeting in Strasbourg to discuss reforms.


An Italian foreign minister had not attended the meeting since 2000


With regard to prisons, an issue which has occupied Bonino for years now, she underscored that it was necessary to undertake “courageous initiatives” in order to “put an end to a situation that undermines the country’s credibility”.


The head of Italian diplomacy (the last Italian foreign minister to attend the Committee of Ministers meeting was Lamberto Dini in 2000) agreed with Council of Europe Secretary General Thornbjorn Jagland on three priority areas of intervention – democracy, human rights and the rule of law – placing particular emphasis on the importance of programmes that build a true culture of democratic institutions.


Alarm for discrimination fomented by populist and xenophobic movements


Minister Bonino took advantage of the ministerial meeting – during which the Presidency changed hands from Andorra to Armenia – to sound the alarm on the growing intolerance and serious discrimination fomented by populist and xenophobic movements. After her address, the minister met with Jagland and Gabriella Battaini Dragoni, Deputy Secretary of the Council of Europe,to which Italy is the second-ranked contributing member.