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Examining Human Rights in Italy

29 October 2014
Universal Periodic Review on Italy
Universal Periodic Review on Italy

On October 27, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Italy was carried out at the Human Rights Council (HRC). During the review, Member States commented and made recommendations on the human rights situation in Italy, and in a report submitted by the Italian government.

Violence and discrimination against women

Many Member States made recommendations on gender issues, especially on domestic violence and violence against women, discrimination against women in the workplace, and the situation of migrant women.

Some Member States endorsed the recommendations made by WILPF Italy on gender based violence and discrimination against women in the job market. We were happy to hear that Germany recommended that Italy “allocate sufficient funds for the effective protection of victims who report gender based violence and focus on training and education in order to prevent such acts of violence, especially within the family.”

In addition, Ireland, India, Uzbekistan and Vietnam recommended that Italy take all necessary measures to address violence against women, as well as gender inequality in particular in the workplace.

Other issues in the review

During the review, many Member States recommended that Italy make further efforts in order to protect the rights of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

Major concerns were raised regarding the inclusion of ethnic minorities, the conditions in which asylum seekers and migrants are received, and the repatriation of unaccompanied minors. All of the latter present some of the major challenges for the Italian State in terms of human rights promotion and protection.

Another major issue of concern in Italy is the absence of a National Human Rights Institution. It is the second time this particular recommendation has been made to the Italian State. Serious efforts for the creation of such an institution are notwithstanding missing.

WILPF’s remaining concerns

We regret that no Member State addressed the gender dimensions of arms trade and its consequences on women’s human rights. Yet, it is crucial for Italy to apply solid criteria for gender based violence in its process of risk assessment before authorising any arms transfer.

If you would like to take a closer look at the recommendations WILPF Italy made, you can read the blog we published last week.

What to do now?

The non-implementation of UPR recommendations will put at risk this mechanism. It is therefore of the utmost importance to monitor and assess their implementation by each State. Indeed, the UPR process does not end at the review itself: it’s an ongoing process in which civil society and WILPF’s National Sections have to be involved.

In terms of follow up, it is essential that WILPF’s National Sections participate in monitoring committees to provide their input, and encourage States to submit mid-term reports. We hope that Italy will submit a mid-term report after this review, as recommended both by Ireland and WILPF Italy.

If you would like to know more on the UPR process, visit UPR Info’s webpage to find out how you can engage in the advancement of the human rights situation in your country.

Do you know what part of the process your country is in? You might still be in time to make a change! Spreading the word about the UPR mechanism is also essential to the protection and promotion of human rights.

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Melissa Torres


Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani


Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo


Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

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WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

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