Friday, 17 December 2010

ACTION: Ringing the Bells of Europe in Support of Human Rights

Every year, on December the 10th, is celebrated the “International Human Rights Day”, established by the United Nations in memory of the signing of the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” in Paris in 1948. The document with only 30 articles, according to Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights – “has had an impact on the human race more significant than any other document in modern history.”

Ringing the Bells of Europe in support of Human Rights” is an idea of the “Group of bell-ringers of Arrone (Umbria, Italy)” aimed at spreading a culture of “All Human Rights for Everyone” and the messages and the topics which the United Nations proposes each year for reflection on those people mentioned in the Declaration. The topic for 2010 is discrimination.

Nowadays the Secretary General of the United Nations has said, “No country is immune from discrimination. […] It can appear in the form of institutionalised racism, of ethnic conflict, episodes of intolerance and rejection, or as the denial of other peoples’ identity.” “Discrimination,” – he continued – “affects vulnerable individuals and groups: the disabled, women and girls, the poor, migrants, minorities , and in general anyone who is perceived to be different. These people are often excluded from taking part in the economic, social, political and cultural life of their own communities. The prejudice which condemns and excludes them can be exploited by extremists. In some countries we are witnessing the appearance of a new policy of xenophobia”.

This year, 62 after the signing of the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” is also the 51st anniversary of the “Declaration of the Rights of the Child” and the 21st of the “International Convention on the Rights of Children and Adolescents ” and the 20th anniversary of the “International Convention on the Rights of migrant workers and their families.”

At 8 p.m. ((GMT+1) on December the 10th, the ancient and prestigious bell-tower of the church of Saint John the Baptist in Arrone, launched the "voice" of the bells of others communities in Italy and Europe that, through the sound of their bronzes, reinforced their adherence to the principles contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the fighting against discrimination.

The President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, has conferred a special medal on the project.

The “Group of bell-ringers of Arrone” is member of the Comitato per la Promozione e Protezione dei Diritti Umani ( an umbrella organization, a network of Italian NGOs active in the field of human rights, created in January 2002 in order to advocate at different levels and with different stakeholders for the establishment of a National Independent Human Rights Institution in Italy.

For further information:

Carola Carazzone, VIS - Volontariato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo, Spokeperson of Comitato Promozione e Protezione Diritti Umani (Italy)