Statement delivered by Ambassador Mariangela Zappia, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the General Assembly High-level plenary meeting to be known as the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit —
It is an honor for me to address this Peace Summit dedicated to the memory of Nelson Mandela, a man who has shaped the history of our time. He truly embodied the values enshrined in the UN Charter.
In Madiba, we do not only celebrate the unrelenting leader of the struggle. We remember him also for the way he pursued peace and reconciliation with those who persecuted him most, and for how he led the way to the re-foundation of South Africa as the Rainbow Nation.
Throughout his life, President Mandela’s actions were always guided by the objectives of ending war and maintaining peace and security in the world, affirming justice and social progress and promoting human rights and dignity.
Protecting and promoting human rights is a priority for Italy.. Italy’s candidature for the Human Rights Council for the term 2019-2021 is based on this commitment. We are inspired by Nelson Mandela’s example in our commitment against all forms of discrimination, in promoting the rights of women and children, in implementing the universal moratorium on the death penalty, in promoting religious freedom and protecting the rights of religious minorities, in fighting against human trafficking, in promoting the rights of persons with disabilities, in protecting cultural heritage and in protecting human rights defenders.
In our action for the promotion of the dignity of the individual and in fighting against human trafficking, we are among those that believe that migration is a global phenomenon that cannot be managed by one country alone. Building on our experience, Italy has contributed to the Global Compact on Migration, which is based on the respect for fundamental human rights of migrating persons, shared responsibility and true partnership among countries of origin, transit and destination.
As son of the African Continent, Nelson Mandela was instrumental in setting the groundwork for the relationship between Africa and the rest of the world.
Because of our history, geography and cultural traditions, Italy has always had a strong and profound relationship with Africa. Over the years, our development cooperation has devoted significant resources to the Continent and, because we believe in Africa’s future, Italy is the sixth largest investor in the Continent. Italy is also assisting many African countries with training and capacity building programs, from Libya to the Sahel and the Horn, in different areas, identified in agreement with local Authorities and fully respecting the principle of African ownership of crisis management.
The upcoming Italy-Africa Ministerial Conference, which represents the highest level, structured framework of the partnership established between Italy and Africa, will take place in Rome on 24 and 25 October. This second edition of the Conference will be a further occasion to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s legacy. It will focus on Africa’s economic growth; our enhanced, concerted efforts to promote peace in the Continent; and the promotion of human development. This high-level dialogue will enable us to strengthen the cooperation between Italy and Africa towards reaching the goals of the UN 2030 Agenda and the AU 2063 Agenda.
Today, I want to reaffirm Italy’s strong commitment in building on Nelson Mandela’s legacy, as a driving force of our collective efforts towards peace, justice and prosperity. On the centenary of his birth, , I wish to pay homage to all the women and men who walked with him towards freedom and justice.
I thank you.