News - EN | 17/10/2020


Mr President, I wish to thank the UNODC on behalf of the Pio La Torre Study Centre, chaired by Vito Lo Monaco, for the invitation to participate in this important event.

The Study Centre named after Pio La Torre, an Italian Member of Parliament killed by the mafia in 1982, has been active since 1984 and is based in Palermo in a property confiscated from the Sicilian mafia.

La Torre was first a labour unionist and later a politician who, fighting in defence of the weakest to change Italy for the better, always opposed the mafia. In 1982 he promoted the first anti-mafia law (Rognoni-La Torre) which introduced “mafia association” as a crime into the Penal Code and the confiscation of the assets acquired by mafia criminals through criminal activities.

This year the Study Centre, in line with international activities carried out on the theme of the fight against organised crime, will hold its 15th Annual Anti-mafia and Anti-violence project, for students of Italian upper secondary schools, under the heading of the 20th Anniversary of the UN Convention signed in Palermo in 2000. During a videoconference, we will analyse its positive historical significance and the commitment of the Pio La Torre Centre to promote the updating of the process to counteract the new mafias that are much more financialised and globalised.

The Pio La Torre Study Centre, on this occasion of the 20th anniversary, hopes that the coordination between law enforcement and the judiciary of the various states of the Convention will be accelerated and that the cultivation of preventative measures and civic education activities of anti-mafia movements in schools and universities, will be much more supported.

Our educational activities are recorded and summarised in the annual survey on the perception of the mafia phenomenon by young people, and uploaded on our website. The survey reveals the complexity of the mafia phenomenon which is not a minor crime.  In the last school year, 104 schools with about ten thousand students, including those in prisons, participated in our anti-mafia and anti-violence educational project by interacting with speakers, both in person and by videoconference. They also attended the 38th anniversary of the political-mafia assassination of Pio La Torre and Rosario Di Salvo who worked with him.

The mafias are a system in which material and physical violence is only the last link in a chain that links unhealthy parts of politics, institutions, economics and finance. Our surveys suggests that young people’s perception of the mafia phenomenon is negative, it reaffirms a clear form of repudiation but also of distrust in the politics of certain ruling classes, especially in this era conditioned by the health and economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

This makes it more urgent to centralise - at the UN, European, and national levels - the fight against the mafia and the empowerment of anti-mafia prevention.

The presence of the mafia globally weakens free market, increases territorial, gender, and social inequalities and is detrimental to development and democracy.
The Pio La Torre Study Centre, as part of the international anti-mafia movement, will continue its commitment to help form a citizens’ democratic civic conscience that opposes all forms of criminal violence, social injustice, inequality, and violation of human rights and that upholds the principles of peace, solidarity, individual and collective freedom.

Loredana Introini
Pio La Torre Study Centre delegate