Franciscans prepare for Italy’s Universal Periodic Review

Franciscans International recently conducted a first workshop through its new European regional program ahead of Italy’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR). On 18 and 19 April, nine sisters and brothers met in Assisi to take stock of the human rights issues they are already addressing through local efforts, and how these could benefit from advocacy at the United Nations.

During the workshop, the participants identified four such issues: the rights of prisoners, access to public health services in neglected areas, care of Italian forests, and the rights of migrants. Franciscans already work to improve the situation of affected communities, and there was broad agreement that this justice and peace work could be complemented and amplified by FI’s rights-based approach at the UN.

Under the UPR, UN Member States examine each other’s human rights records on a rotating basis. During this process, they can make recommendations to improve and address existing issues. At the end of this process, the country under review is expected to provide an implementation framework for the commitments it makes, establishing concrete benchmarks to measure progress. As part of the UPR, the UN also invites submissions from civil society organizations, providing the opportunity to shine a light on underreported human rights issues. FI previously submitted reports for Italy’s 2009 and 2014 reviews.

As a next step, Franciscans in Italy will consolidate information through further exchanges among themselves and with FI to form the basis of a new report that will be submitted in July. The examination of Italy is scheduled for January 2025.