Italy: Briefing Paper on the situation of human rights defenders

(Geneva) - Italy is scheduled to be reviewed at the 20th session of the Universal Periodic Review in October 2014.

(Geneva) - Italy is scheduled to be reviewed at the 20th session of the Universal Periodic Review in October 2014.

At its first UPR of February 2010, Italy promised to strengthen media independence and pluralism, guarantee freedom of expression and protect journalists. Four years on, both human rights defenders and journalists complain of judicial harassment, with some of Europe's harshest libel laws used and misused to silence dissent. Journalists working on issues of governmental corruption and organised crime face particularly high risks of threats, attacks and criminalisation. Further, in spite of the successful prosecution of emblematic cases of excessive use of force against social protest, lessons are yet to be learnt in order to guarantee non-repetition.

Key recommendations that should be made to Italy at the UPR in October 2014 include the decriminalisation of defamation, the establishment of a national human rights institution, and the undertaking of a comprehensive review of the laws and protocols governing the management of protests, de-escalation strategies and the use of force, including lessons learned from Genoa 2001.

This Briefing Paper on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in Italy (also available in Italian) is intended to assist States and other stakeholders to formulate questions and recommendations regarding the protection of human rights defenders during the UPR.

For further information about the Briefing Paper or for any assistance or advice in the formulation of recommendations, please contact ISHR's Michael Ineichen, on [email protected].

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