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Hate speech: Zappia, “Italy on the frontline, education is powerful tool”

NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 4 – “Inter-religious and intercultural dialogue is an integral part of an effective response to hate speech, as it fosters mutual understanding and respect for diversity, reaffirming the important contribution of religions and religious leaders in promoting peace,” the Italian Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Mariangela Zappia, said at an event on addressing hate speech and preventing incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence.

Synergies within the United Nations System

Italy, who co-hosted the event aimed at preventinghate speech and violence, is at the frontline with UN in combating hate speech, by promoting peace, solidarity and mutual understanding. “Education is a powerful tool for the promotion of tolerance and non-discrimination,” Zappia said: “The best way to prevent and combat discriminatory attitudes and behavior is through education and cross-cultural, cross-religious and interfaith dialogue.”

This discussion is particularly relevant as the phenomenon of hate speech spreads around the world through the new digital technologies and the social media: “More and more often, the members of different social groups, including the persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities, are targeted by hate speech and are the object of multiple forms of discrimination”, she said.

Zappia mentioned some of the numerous projects and initiatives on the topic of inter-religious dialogue and on the impact of the religious phenomenon on international relations which Italy promotes and supports. Among these, the establishment of the European Academy of Religions, an exchange platform dedicated to academies and scientific associations, research centers and institutions from Europe and the surrounding region.

Italy provides humanitarian assistance to religious minorities in situations of particular vulnerability, in particular in the Middle East, but not only, through interventions aimed at helping displaced populations and promoting reconciliation between the different ethnic and religious groups involved in conflicts. The Ambassador mentioned the fight against anti-Semitism: “We are engaged in many activities aimed at educating to respect and value differences, in order to prevent all forms of violence and discrimination, and to preserve the memory of the Holocaust”. Significant attention is devoted to the training of teachers, who are tasked with transmitting the value of memory to young people.

Last October the Italian Senate adopted a motion aimed at establishing a Commission that will deal with the fight against the phenomena of intolerance, racism, anti-Semitism and instigation to hatred and violence, on the initiative of Senator Liliana Segre, survivor of the Holocaust and witness of the Italian Shoah. Moreover, a few days ago, the Italian Government appointed a national coordinator for the fight against antisemitism and “embraced” the definition of antisemitism, as proposed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. (@OnuItalia)

Il giornale Italiano delle Nazioni Unite. Ha due redazioni, una a New York, l’altra a Roma.

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