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Human rights in Italy from a civil society perspective

October 10, 2014

On 27th October, Italy will be reviewed by the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) for its second Universal Periodic Review (UPR). It was previously reviewed by the HRC in 2010.

What is the Universal Periodic Review?

The UPR is the main mechanism used by the HRC to assess the human rights situation of every state. Reviews occur every four years. If you’d like to learn more about it, watch our webinar on the HRC and the UPR.

Before each review, Geneva-based NGO UPR-Info organises a pre-session for civil society organisations (CSOs) and national human rights institutions. This gives them the opportunity to share their assessment of the human rights situation and accomplishments in the country under review. It also gives the opportunity for CSOs to suggest recommendations that UN Member States can endorse, since only Member States participate in the UPR itself.

WILPF’s Human Rights Programme monitored the pre-session on Italy, and WILPF Italy took the floor to share its recommendations.

Issues of concern for Italian CSOs

Several Italian CSOs expressed concerns and recommendations at the pre-session. Both FIACAT and the Comitato per la promozione e protezione dei diritti umani, insisted on the need to create and implement a national human rights institution in Italy. According to the Comitato, the marked absence of such an institution is not only due to the lack of financial resources, but also to the lack of political will from the Italian government.

FIACAT expressed concern over the deficiencies of the national system of reception of migrants and asylum-seekers. It recommended that Italy respect the European Union’s reception standards by creating a national system for the protection of asylum seekers and the reception and rehabilitation of victims of conflict.

The International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) highlighted the absence of legal protection to combat discrimination and violence against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex community, as well as the disparities in the enjoyment of the right to family life for same sex couples. ILGA thus recommended amending the law on marriage rights to eliminate discrimination against homosexual couples.

Viola Giuliano delivering WILPF's recommendations for the UPR of Italy - October 2014WILPF’s recommendations

WILPF expressed great concern regarding the situation of women’s employment in Italy. WILPF Italy recommended that the Italian government develop a national policy to encourage women’s employment by allocating necessary funds for the creation of public child care services, as well as incentives to businesses that hire women with stable contracts.

Another one of our concerns is the level of gender based violence and the growing number of feminicides. WILPF Italy recommends allocating a sufficient budget to a policy on gender based violence that includes a focus on prevention, and guarantees the protection of women who denounce violence against them.

Last but not least, WILPF Italy stressed the need to regulate arms transfer by assessing their impacts on women’s human rights. Small arms and light weapons in particular contribute to insecurity within communities and increase the risk for women to experience violent situations.

For more information, read our recommendations for the UPR of Italy.

What will happen now?

The UPR of Italy will take place on 27th October. WILPF’s Human Rights Programme will attend the session, and will keep you posted on the outcome of the review. Don’t forget to keep an eye on our website and to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. To get the latest news directly to your inbox, subscribe to our newsletter.

In the meantime, spread the word about the UPR mechanism!

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