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Statement of Italy during the Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief at the 55th session of the Human Rights Council

HRC55 FoRB 1

The Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva, Ambassador Vincenzo Grassi, took the floor today during the Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, in the framework of the 55th session of the Human Rights Council.

Amb. Grassi reiterated Italy’s support for the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and thanked Dr. Ghanea for her written report. He further stated that Italy shares the Special Rapporteur’s call to all States for “greater efforts to promote freedom of religion or belief, foster interfaith and intercultural dialogue, protect religious and belief minorities and combat hate speech while upholding all human rights”. He also noted that the report properly underlines that religious hate speech that does not constitute incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence should be actively addressed through robust measures and policies but not criminalized.

In line with longstanding priorities of Italy’s foreign policy, we staunchly champion the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief and of the rights of persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities in our bilateral relations and in all relevant multilateral fora, including through the UPR”, the Permanent Representative stated, recalling that Italy promotes these priorities also through development cooperation programs, including the “Fund for direct support for Christian minorities persecuted in crisis areas“.

“While strongly condemning all forms of intolerance and discrimination, and in particular violent attacks directed against persons, based on religion or belief, Italy will continue to promote dialogue and cooperation among different religious leaders and communities, aiming at fostering mutual understanding, preventing conflicts and building peaceful, just and inclusive societies in line with the Agenda 2030”, said in conclusion the Permanente Representative of Italy.


Read the full statement here.