Statement by Sergio Stanzani, President of the Transnational Nonviolent Radical Party and No Peace Without Justice:

“Italian Foreign Affairs Minister Frattini was right to call the Syrian Ambassador, but the diplomatic demarche must also have full political content. In this case there are two things that, at the very least, Italy should do in order to send to Damascus a clear message of denunciation of the violent repression of these days. Italy should suspend the Treaty of Cultural Cooperation with Syria that was recently ratified by the Italian Parliament and should express its firm opposition to the possible election of Syria as a Member of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, where Damascus intends to be present.

“In the past, Italy has too often entertained formal cultural and economic ties with anti-democratic regimes such as that of Gaddafi in Libya, even leading to sponsor its ascension within the United Nations.

“Today, the lesson to be learned from these policy choices that were against Italy’s international obligations to promote and protect human rights is to say no to dictators who are still in command. Therefore we call on Italy to suspend the agreement with Syria and to oppose to its election to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva scheduled for 20 May 2011.”

For further information, please contact Gianluca Eramo, phone +32 2 548 39 25, email or Nicola Giovannini,  phone +32-2-548-3915, email