IFLA, working with the Italian Library Association, has provided input to the Universal Periodic Review of Italy at the Human Rights Council. The submission highlights the importance of access to information and education, as well as the rights of children, people with disabilities, refugees and migrants.

The United Nations’ Human Rights Council has a mission to monitor and encourage the respect of human rights around the world. As well as thematic reports, it also runs ‘Universal Periodic Reviews’ (UPRs).

These serve to look, in depth, at how countries are doing in respecting the conventions and declarations that make up human rights law. On the basis of a report, compiled based on contributions by countries, stakeholders and experts, a hearing takes place and recommendations are made.

You can read more about the UPR process in our blog.

It will be Italy’s turn to have a review later this year. IFLA has therefore worked with the Association of Italian Libraries, to prepare a contribution. Particular thanks go to Enrica Manenti, member of the IFLA Advisory Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression.

The comments highlight the importance of the presence of libraries in all parts of the country in order to support access to information and education.

It highlights challenges around censorship, notably the Todi case where a librarian resisted efforts to move books discussing gender ambiguity from the children’s to the adults’ section of the library. She was forced to change jobs because of her actions.

It also underlines concern about efforts to reduce funding for organisations which help refugees and migrants, which may well hit libraries.

At the same time, there are many positive examples of Italian libraries helping to deliver human rights through dedicated programmes and actions.

IFLA looks forward to next steps, and will continue to engage on Universal Periodic Reviews where possible.

Read the submission.