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Italian Foreign Ministry – International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence based on Religion or Belief

To mark the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence based on Religion or Belief, Italy strongly reaffirms its commitment, at the international level, to promote freedom of religion or belief, and expresses its strongest condemnation of all types of violence that are based on religious affiliation or creed.

In the firmest conviction that societies can develop in peace, and can prosper, only in full respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of every individual, including the freedom to profess one’s religion, change one’s religion, or to profess no belief, Italy has placed its commitment to freedom of religion or belief at the centre of its international action and is making it one of the priorities for its mandate in the United Nations Human Rights Council for the three-year period 2019-2021.

Sensitive as ever to protecting the rights of religious minorities, Italy is also contributing in many parts of the world, through its Action on Development Cooperation, to improving the socio-economic conditions of ethnic and religious minorities, and favouring the processes for integrating them.

In this year of the 40th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, it is important to underline the relevance of this theme, which is made even more topical by the ongoing health emergency that has aggravated pre-existing forms of discrimination in many areas of the world, and has increasingly been contributing to the emergence of online and offline hate speech, conspiracy theories, and many forms of violence and intolerance motivated by religious affiliation or belief.

Now more than ever it is important to strengthen the commitment of the international community to protecting and promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms including those of religious minorities, not least by strengthening interreligious dialogue and disseminating a culture of human rights so that religions can be channels for peace and for encounters between individuals and peoples, and not a pretext for intolerance, discrimination and violence. Italy remains closely focussed on this important dossier and is taking action in all the appropriate forums to defend freedom of religion or belief and the rights of religious minorities.

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