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International Human Rights Day

On 10 December we commemorate the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the General Assembly of the United Nations, in 1948. And Italy, strong in its commitment in this field, joins in the celebrations of the entire international community.

Respect for, and the promotion of, human rights has always been a pillar of Italian foreign policy. We are convinced that respecting and promoting human rights is a prerequisite for a more just world and for greater international stability.

The Farnesina is celebrating this international “Day” by presenting the Italian Human Rights Yearbook today, 10 December 2015. The event, organised by the Interministerial Committee for Human Rights (Italian initials CIDU) in collaboration with the University of Padua, was opened by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Paolo Gentiloni.

Moderator of the event was the chair of the CIDU, Gianludovico de Martin. Other speakers were Prof. Antonio Papisca, editor of the Italian Human Rights Yearbook at the University of Padua; Gianni Magazzeni, from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; Antonio Marchesi, President of Amnesty International Italia; and Alessio Allegrini, representing Musicians for Human Rights, who gave a musical performance during the presentation.

During his speech, Minister Gentiloni underscored that the on-going effort to promote and protect human rights must not be abandoned but, rather, strengthened, in spite of the current geopolitical tensions and terrorist threats. He also noted Italy’s traditional commitment on certain priority issues, starting from the universal moratorium on the death penalty. This initiative continues to make progress year after year, thanks not least to our country’s contribution.

The celebrations will continue this afternoon with the presentation of the annual report of the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), entitled “The Fundamental Rights in Europe: Challenges and Results in 2014”. The two events are intended not just for representatives of the institutions, but also for members of civil society and non-governmental organisations engaged in implementing and raising awareness of human rights.

Our country’s work to protect and promote human rights has taken place at both the bilateral and multilateral levels, in certain priority sectors. These include the campaign for the moratorium on capital punishment; the promotion of women’s rights, including through campaigns against female genital mutilation and early and forced marriages; the protection of children’s rights, not least in conflict situations; the protection of freedom of religion or belief; and the rights of members of religious minorities.

In 2015 Italy played a part in achieving important results in the protection of the fundamental rights. These include the approval of the European Union’s Action Plan for Human Rights and Democracy for 2015-2019, to the drafting of which Italy made a significant contribution. The Action Plan addresses the most important human rights policy issues, for which responsibility is shared among the Council, Commission and Member States of the European Union for the promotion of human rights and democracy in coming years.