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Wide view of Hall XX, where the Human Rights Council gathers, Palace of Nations, Geneva, Switzerland, 2010.
© Centro Diritti Umani - Università di Padova

Human Rights Council - Italy’s responses to UPR recommendations

On June 9th, 2010, The United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) definitively adopted the Report A/HRC/14/4 of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), containing 92 recommendations to the Italian government on the legal, political and institutional measures to be adopted in order to enhance the national system of promotion and protection of human rights. Italy had to provide accurate responses on each of the 92 recommendations, clarifying the reasons for their acceptance or rejection (Doc A/HRC/14/4/Add.1).

Italy has fully accepted 78 recommendations, considering 44 of them already implemented or under implementation: No. 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 32, 33, 34, 35, 37, 41, 42, 43, 53, 55, 57, 60, 67, 68, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 92. In particular, it declared to be committed to ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture once a relevant independent national preventive mechanism will be put in place (recommendation No. 4). Two recommendations have been partially accepted: No. 21 and 75 (as to recommendation No. 21, for instance, Italy reiterated its continued commitment to actively contribute to the eradication of any forms of racism, but, at the same time, it recalled that, together with other countries, Italy decided not to participate in the 2009 Durban Review Conference and therefore is not in a position to adopt or endorse its Outcome Document). Finally, 12 recommendations have been rejected (No. 1, 2, 8, 14, 17, 38, 49, 56, 58, 72, 73, 81). Among the latter ones, the following are particularly relevant:

  • Recommendation No. 2 dealing with the ratification of the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. Italy has not accepted this recommendation on the basis of the following motivation: “The Italian legislation already guarantees most of the rights contained in the UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. However Italy is not in a position to ratify this instrument because it does not draw any distinctions between regular and irregular migrant workers and the signature and ratification could only be planned jointly with the other European Union partners as many provisions of the Convention fall within the European Union domain”.
  • Recommendation No. 8 dealing with the inclusion of the crime of torture in the national legislation, according to art. 2 and 4 of the 1984 UN Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (ratified by Italy in 1988). Italy has not accepted this recommendation on the grounds that  “in Italy, torture is punishable under various offences and aggravating circumstances, which trigger a wider application of such crime. Even though this is not typified as one specific offence under the Italian criminal code, both the constitutional and legal framework already punish acts of physical and moral violence against persons subject to restrictions of their personal liberty. Both provide sanctions for all criminal conducts covered by the definition of torture, as set forth in Article 1 of the relevant Convention”.
  • Recommendation No. 14 dealing with the establishment by the end of 2010 of independent National human rights institutions. Italy has not accepted this recommendation on the basis of the following motivation: “A Bill on the establishment of a National Human Rights Institution will be submitted to the Parliament as soon as the required budgetary resources are made available. However, in accordance with the principle of the separation of powers, the Government is not in a position to commit the Parliament to act within a specific deadline”.
  • Recommendation No. 72, 73, 81 dealing with the abolition of the legislation that criminalizes the irregular migration (with particular reference to the law 94/2009). Italy has not accepted this recommendation on the grounds that “The management of large migration flows remains a very serious challenge for any State. In this context, it is crucial to put in place the necessary tools to fight against human trafficking and promote regular migration. The 2009 legislation has the two-fold aim: of ensuring that migrants – those who are not entitled to any forms of protection - are effectively returned to their Country of origin; and of preventing their involvement in organized crime networks. These measures are meant to curb criminal behaviours of individuals and no provision at all is envisaged against any community, group or class nor is linked to any form of discrimination and xenophobia. Along these lines, the aggravating circumstance under reference is solely meant to prevent the involvement of illegal migrants in organized crime”.

During the interactive debate that followed, beyond several States, 10 NGOs took the floor, too, to comment the responses of the Italian government. Volontariato internazioale per lo sviluppo – VIS was the only Italian NGO vis-à-vis 9 international NGOs (Human Rights Watch, Charitable Institute for protecting Social Victims, International Federation for human rights Leagues, Amnesty International, Save the children, Rencontre africaine puor la defence des droits de l’homme, Reporters without borders, European Federation Gay and Lesbians, Franciscan International).