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Mr. President,

Italy aligns itself with the statement made by the representative of the European Union and wishes to add a few remarks in a national capacity.

Human Rights are at the core of Italy’s foreign policy. Our support for the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms is deeply rooted in Italian history, tradition and culture. We believe that the United Nations, because of its universal character, is the best forum for progress in this field, providing us with an opportunity that Italy is determined to seize.

Particularly in this year, which marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations and which has seen so many important achievements (the adoption of the 2030 Agenda and the reviews on WPS, the Peacebuilding Architecture and Peace Operations), we will need to further step up efforts to ensure the synergic implementation of the three pillars of the United Nations: peace and security, development, and human rights. In a time of continuing instability and violence, the protection of human rights is the key answer to the mounting challenges that we face every day: terrorism; demographic imbalance; fluxes of migrants and refugees; environmental challenges and climate change.

This year, Italy has taken several steps to further promote human rights. I will mention just two of them. First, we are proud to announce that we have recently ratified the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons against Enforced Disappearance that will enter into force for our Country in a few days. This is a huge step towards a more comprehensive protection of human rights, at home and abroad. Second, also as Vice Chair of the Conference of States Parties to the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for the years 2015 – 2016, we decided to further promote the rights of persons with disabilities and to run a new resolution – under the leadership of the Republic of Korea – aimed at creating more accessible work environments for persons with disabilities in the United Nations.

Mr. President,

We believe the best way to protect human rights is to prevent their violation. Disseminating early warning mechanisms – an initiative of the Secretariat that Italy is proud to have supported – can be instrumental. Developed by the Office of the Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide and RtoP, the “Framework of Analysis” provides specific guidelines for risk analysis and places a crucial emphasis on the role of non-State actors, such as religious leaders and the media – thus representing an essential tool for the timely and systematic detection of risk of atrocity crimes. The last seminar on early warning mechanisms and the role of religious leaders in preventing atrocity crimes was just held in Italy by the Office of the Special Adviser Dieng in September. 

In this context, aware of the critical role that understanding and tolerance play in conflict prevention and strengthening peace and security, we will continue to be committed – as we have always been traditionally – to the promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue. We are convinced that religion can play a pivotal role in preventing conflicts and must become a main factor of stability. No division or discrimination can be justified on the basis of religion, the freedom of which is enshrined in the Italian Constitution.

We, as delegates of the Third Committee, can amply help to effectively promote and protect human rights if we work with an approach based on dialogue, tolerance and mutual respect. This is the approach that Italy has always maintained in pursuing its national human rights priorities and will continue to uphold in this 70th session of the General Assembly as well.

Thank you.