Italian Foreign Affairs commitments on the rights of LGBTI people

17/06/2013
Submitted by Associazione Radicale Certi Diritti

THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS RESPONDS TO THE QUERY REGARDING THE CASE OF MANNINA, THE TEACHER EXPELLED FROM ERITREA BECAUSE HE IS GAY.

Associazione Radicale Certi Diritti Press Release

Rome, June 10, 2013

The Honorable Lapo Pistelli, Minister of Foreign Affairs with responsibility for human rights, responded to the query presented by Senators Sergio Lo Giudice, member of Associazione Radicale Certi Diritti, and Luigi Manconi on the case of Paolo Mannina, the teacher at the Italian school of Asmara expelled from Eritrea for being gay.

The reply reads: "The Foreign Ministry has strongly contested - representing their arguments for the protection of the teacher and stressing the need to respect his rights - the reasons for the expulsion formalized by the Eritrean authorities. They rely on Article 7 of the Agreement on Italian Technical Schools in Asmara, where reference is made to compliance with local regulations, and in particular to Article 600 of the Eritrean Penal Code concerning consensual relationships between persons of the same sex. Italy has at the same time involved its European partners, informing them of the incident and obtaining inclusion of the issue of discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation in the last report of the EU Heads of Mission in Asmara on the situation in Eritrea. We are studying initiatives to foster a joint EU action to increase awareness of the Eritrean authorities."

The response ends with a declaration of commitments made by the Ministry under the direction of Minister Emma Bonino: "Our country, together with other EU countries, strongly supports the resolution on the rights of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) persons that will be presented at the XXIII Session of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations to open in Geneva on May 27. At the EU level, Italy is at the same time contributing to the drafting of guidelines for European operations for the protection of the rights of LGBT persons. The guidelines are intended for EU Delegations and the Diplomatic Missions of the Member States and will be subject to the approval of the Foreign Affairs Council on 24 June. Finally, Italy strongly supports the action of the EU that included LGBT rights among its priorities for the next General Assembly of the United Nations to be held in September, along with the abolition of the death penalty, the promotion of freedom of religion, the abandonment of the practice of female genital mutilation, torture, racism and the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples and the disabled. "

Yuri Guiana, secretary of the Associazione Radicale Certi Diritti, states: "We learn that the Eritrean government finally threw off the mask and admitted that it had expelled Professor Mannina merely for being gay. It is evident from this incident that the Agreement on Italian Technical Schools in Eritrea, as in other countries where basic human rights are trampled upon, urgently needs to be renegotiated to ensure the best for Italian workers abroad. We welcome with great satisfaction, however, the commitments made by the Foreign Ministry to defend the rights of LGBTI persons and put ourselves at the Ministry’s disposal for any type of cooperation deemed necessary. The question regarding damages (work-related, moral, and professional) suffered by Professor Mannina, however, still remains open and will hopefully be resolved soon.


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