The anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 10 December 1948, is an important opportunity for reflection on the central position that the question of Human Rights continues to hold among the major issues of concern to the States of the world in their domestic and international life.
In the 54 years that have passed since then, the international community has put numerous legal instruments in place that are intended to ensure that the principles of the Universal Declaration come to be applied more and more fully. A fundamental need remains to lessen the serious gap that still exists between the commitments signed up to and the recurrent and continuing violations of Human Rights to which the events currently taking place on the international stage unfortunately bear witness. The introduction of a range of effective international mechanisms to monitor the respect of the principles underlying the Declaration could provide an important contribution to our efforts to combat Human Rights violations.
The protection of Human Rights requires a constant effort to extend and up-date the legislative instruments currently in place. Italy plays a leading role in this area, especially in questions such as the banning of torture and the death penalty, the fight against international crime and the trafficking in human beings, the protection of the rights of women and children, and the institution and operation of the International Criminal Court. These major issues have met with the widest possible consensus in Italian public opinion and have attracted the keen attention of civil society, which has embarked on a series of actions and initiatives in this respect.
We are convinced that only in a framework where Human Rights are increasingly affirmed and afforded strong protection, will the international community succeed in finding the resources and mobilising the energies that are needed to tackle the great challenges of our times, from an effective reaction to the threats posed by terrorism and intolerance to the pursuit of a model of balanced global economic development that takes due account of all its human, cultural and social implications.