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Italy’s Stefanile to UNSC: “Freedom of religion is crucial for pluralistic societies”

NEW YORK, AUGUST 22 – Speaking at an Arria formula meeting of the UN Security Council, Italy underlined its continued support for ethnic and religious minorities that suffer persecution.

“Freedom of religion or belief is crucial to build pluralistic, peaceful societies”, the Italian Deputy Permanent Representative Stefano Stefanile said, marking the first International Day on Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief, recently established by a General Assembly resolution which Italy co-sponsored.

“Over the recent years, we have witnessed an increase in violent extremism and ethnic and religious discrimination around the world, adding to the already precarious situation often faced by persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities. Religions have become objects of manipulation, invoked to justify heinous violence and crime, such as terrorist attacks, manifestations of radicalization, hate speech, intolerance and violent extremism against communities and individuals belonging to religious minorities”, said Stefanile.

Violations of freedom of religion or belief can be early indicators of gross human rights violations that can escalate into war crimes, genocides or crimes against humanity, added the Italian diplomat: “These acts of violence become even more frequent and serious in the context of armed conflicts, where vulnerable groups and individuals are targets of attacks in violation of their human rights. This is why we commend the focus on armed conflicts of today’s meeting”.

Stefanile recalled that Italy has been traditionally at the forefront of the efforts aimed at safeguarding freedom of religion or belief around the world as a cornerstone of the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms, particularly freedom of thought and expression. “We are in favor of a renewed action of the International Community in defense of cultural and religious heritage, especially in conflict or crises zones. Cultural and religious heritage is indeed the bedrock of civilization, a testament to human identity, history and prosperity”, he said pointing to a series of concrete steps made by Italy both in the bilateral sphere (since 2016 an investment of 3.5 million € in promoting dialogue and reconciliation among the different components of the Iraqi society in areas occupied by Daesh and subject to its policy of persecution, where Christians, Yazidis, Kurds, Arabs and Turkmens have been coexisting for centuries) and on the multilateral dimension: besides supporting the work of the Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on the prevention of genocide, Italy recently hosted one of the regional seminars on the role of religious leaders in preventing atrocity crimes with the participation of Special Adviser Dieng and about 30 religious leaders. (@OnuItalia)

OnuItalia
OnuItaliahttps://onuitalia.com
Il giornale Italiano delle Nazioni Unite. Ha due redazioni, una a New York, l’altra a Roma.

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