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70esimo Anniversario della Dichiarazione Universale dei Diritti dell’Uomo

Discorso introduttivo pronunciato dall’Ambasciatrice Mariangela Zappia, Rappresentante Permanente dell’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite, all’Evento “Leaders for Peace. Rondine youth appeal for human rights” organizzato in occasione del 70esimo anniversario della Dichiarazione Universale dei Diritti dell’Uomo —

Thank you very much Alison, Under-Secretary-General, for opening today.
President Vaccari welcome,
Welecome to Rondine representatives, welcome to Christine and Noam,
And of course welcome to all of you, Excellencies, Colleagues, and dear Friends.

I couldn’t have imagined a better way to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and discussing with you three topics that are really close to my heart: youth, peace and human rights.

It is discouraging sometimes to see that the world in which we live is still characterized by widespread violations of the most basic rights. Extremism and intolerance exacerbate ethnic and religious divisions to the detriment of the most vulnerable, of minorities, of women and children. In the face of this reality, peace seems so far to reach and hardly capable of healing the wounds caused by conflict or of paving the way toward reconstruction and reconciliation.

Today, you will be shown a concrete method to promote inclusive political-diplomatic solutions to crises through a bottom-up approach ; a method to promote the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and to invest in young people so that they may become future leaders for peace.

Let me explain what Rondine is.

Rondine is a small beautiful village in Tuscany, Italy, where the organization is based, and where young people coming from conflict or post-conflict situations are hosted, living and studying together for a period of 2 years. Through daily cohabitation, these students learn how to overcome their first reaction of mistrust – sometimes real antagonism – toward the others; to cooperate; and finally to help their communities build mutual trust and create a new generation of citizens capable of forging lasting peace within their countries and with their neighbors.

The Rondine Method combines the three key factors I mentioned earlier: youth, peace and human rights. At a time when 42 per cent of the world’s population is under the age of 25, it is vital for Member States to ensure they are given a greater voice in conflict prevention and resolution. As the Security Council – with resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security – and the recently launched UN Youth Strategy “Youth 2030” have recognized, youth can play a crucial role in the maintenance and promotion of international peace and security. For too many years we thought of youth, and, in particular, young women, only as victims to be protected by the violence unleashed by conflict and war. The Rondine organization points to the positive and active role youth can play in peacebuilding activities and as a member of the Peacebuilding Commission – Italy is a member of the Peacebuilding Commission – we strongly believe that partnership with civil society, especially women and youth, is crucial to implement the sustaining peace agenda.. Empowering today’s generation of young people is the most formidable way to defeat the root causes of conflict,

Italy is very pleased to support their efforts for peace, also as part of our broader support for conflict-prevention, peacebuilding and sustaining peace. As the Secretary-General recently stated, in light of today’s acute and prolonged crises, it is clear that reaction to crises alone is not enough. The twin Resolution on sustaining peace highlights the necessity of a cross-pillar approach and refer to the relevance of human rights for conflict prevention and sustaining peace. This is why our work must focus on prevention, on balancing our action in the domains of peace and security and on threading our activities through the three pillars of the UN: peace, sustainable development and human rights.

Our support to conflict prevention is based also on promoting education on human rights. In this regard, Italy is party to the Platform on Human Rights Education and Training – an informal cross-regional group of States, which aims to keep the attention high on the promotion of human rights education and training. Together with the partners of the Platform, Italy is also sponsor in Geneva of the resolution on the World Program on Human Rights Education and Training, which seeks to advance the implementation of human rights educational programs in all sectors, to promote a common understanding of basic principles and methodologies of human rights education and to strengthen partnerships and cooperation both internationally and at the grass roots level.

I am glad and honored to see t UNESCO and the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights, are here today to support this endeavor.
As a member of the Human Rights Council starting in January, Italy is ready to further step up our efforts in this field. I am also happy to welcome representative of Holy See and Episcopal Conference because as you will see Rondine has been received by Pope Francis very recently and also by the Head of State of Italy, President Mattarella

I truly believe that Rondine example and their Method are the practical embodiment of the UN’s concept of conflict prevention and sustaining peace, and definitely merit to be studied more in depth and possibly taken as a model for many of our peacebuilding programmes.

Today, Rondine students will launch an appeal to all of you to invest more in youth, in peace and in human rights 70 years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted. I believe we need not only a renewed commitment to peace, but also a renewed commitment to create mutual trust among peoples, cultures and nations.

I, in turn, would like to launch an appeal to you, students of Rondine – be aware that every social movement for human rights and solidarity in history has been led by young people. You are the true custodians of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, please ensure that it will remain a living document. I appeal to you, to keep it alive for another seventy years and more , to show us the path to a world of peace, dignity and opportunity for all.

I thank you.