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The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights: Italy Country visit report 2023

Dunja Mijatović, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, issued a new report on the migration and asylum, women’s rights and gender equality situation in Italy, following her country visit in June 2023. It emerges that, while putting effort into the migration area, Italy needs “to ensure adequate search and rescue capacity” of people at sea. Moreover, Italian legislation hindering the work of NGOs on the matter must be repealed. Inter alia, the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the government together with Albania does not meet the human rights international standards and Italy must improve its domestic asylum and reception system. 

When it comes to gender equality and combating violence against women, the situation appears adverse. Despite the presence of a legal framework against violence, discrimination and inequalities, women are still facing it daily. National institutions must combat it and improve support services for gender-based violence victims. 

Moreover, sexual violence offences and rape must be criminalised on the notion of freely given consent. Specific regard must be paid to victims of sexual violence and judicial and law enforcement personnel must be trained on the treatment of women and LGBTQI people that are victims of violence. 

With regard to the rights of the LGBTQI community, the report requests Italy to establish legislation against discrimination, hate crime and hate speech to cover the rights of LGBTQI people. 

Furthermore, current disproportionate defamation laws in place in Italy hinder the work of journalists. Hence, the Commissioner suggests decriminalizing these laws to protect freedom of expression.