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International Day of Remembrance for Victims of Violence on the basis of Religion or Belief

On the occasion of the International Day of Remembrance for Victims of Religiously-Based Violence, Italy strongly reaffirms its commitment at the international level to promote freedom of religion or belief and expresses its strongest condemnation of any kind of violence based on religious affiliation or belief.

In the firm conviction that only full respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of every individual, including the freedom to profess one’s religion, change one’s religion and even to have no belief at all, can enable societies to develop in peace and prosper, Italy has placed its commitment to freedom of religion or belief at the centre of its international action, making it one of the priorities of its mandate in the United Nations Human Rights Council for the three-year period 2019-2021.

Italy has always been sensitive to the issue of protecting the rights of religious minorities, and through its Development Cooperation, it is also committed in many areas of the world to contributing to the improvement of socio-economic conditions of people belonging to ethnic and religious minorities and encouraging their integration processes.

In the year in which we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination based on Freedom of Religion or Belief, it is important to underline the relevance of this issue, made even more topical by the current health emergency, which in many areas of the world has aggravated pre-existing forms of discrimination, contributing increasingly to the emergence of online and offline hate speech, conspiracy theories and numerous forms of violence and intolerance motivated by religious affiliation or belief.

It is now more important than ever to strengthen the commitment of the international community to the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including those of persons belonging to religious minorities, including through the strengthening of interreligious dialogue and the dissemination of a culture of human rights, so that religions may be vehicles of peace and encounter between individuals and peoples and not a pretext for intolerance, discrimination and violence. Italy is keeping a close eye on this important issue, acting in all appropriate forums in defence of freedom of religion or belief and the rights of people belonging to religious minorities. Translated with (free version)