The Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question
On July 12, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN, gave an intervention during the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on “The Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question.”
In his statement, Archbishop Auza mentioned the July 1st “Report on the Middle East” by the Quartet on the Middle East comprised of the United Nations, the United States, the Russian Federation and the European Union and said it was time to act on its recommendations to bring peace and security to the citizens of Israel and of the State of Palestine. He called attention to the ongoing persecution of Christians in the remnants of Syria and Iraq and repeated Pope Francis’ words talking about the duplicity of calling for peace on the one hand and promoting the sale or giving of arms to those in the region on the other. Peace requires focus on development, not guns; on dialogue, not weapons. He also urged strengthening the relationship between faith-based “informal diplomacy” and the formal diplomacy of States and multilateral international bodies. Finally he called on religious believers and leaders to end all forms of mutual hatred that could lend credence to a “clash of civilizations” and to condemn and combat efforts to hijack religion to justify terror and violence.
To read his statement in its entirety, see here.
Statement at High Level Thematic Debate on Human Rights
On July 13, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN, gave an intervention during the UN High-Level thematic debate entitled UN@70 — Human rights at the center of the global agenda.
In his statement, Archbishop Auza noted the role the United Nations has played since its founding in protecting and promoting human rights through international human rights covenants and the establishment of international human rights norms. Such achievements cannot be taken for granted, he said, but must be received, solidified and built upon by every generation. He called attention to the way human dignity and rights are being denied, suppressed and violated today in war, human trafficking, the persecution of religious and ethic minorities, abortion and euthanasia and so many forms of unjust discrimination. He also underlined three threats to human dignity and rights: the failure to appreciate that fundamental human rights come not from the State but from one’s innate human dignity; the invention of what Pope Francis calls “false rights” that dilute and undercut genuine human rights; and allowing human rights talk to remain rhetorical rather than speaking and fulfilling the corresponding duties to each genuine right. As the UN celebrates 70 years, he says it’s an occasion “to defend those whose right are being violated; to place human rights, the human dignity on which they’re based, and the responsibilities corresponding to them on a more secure footing; and to work to create the circumstances in which they may be effectively transmitted to future generations.”
To read his statement in its entirety, see here.
Holy See event seeks to combat roots of trafficking children
Experts called for greater awareness and stronger policies to combat the roots of human trafficking among children and youth at a July 13 event at the UN sponsored by the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See in collaboration with the NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons, the Salesians Missions, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, and ECPAT-USA.
Entitled Eliminating the Trafficking of Children and Youth, it discussed the best methods to combat the growing scourge of children and youth who are trafficked for sex or work.
“This conference seeks to make real the faces of the nearly two million children and youth who are presently being trafficked and speak about what’s working, what’s not working, and what needs to be done to free them, help them recover, and prevent other young people from suffering as they have,” Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See Mission to the UN, noted in his opening remarks.
The Catholic Church, he said, has long fought against human trafficking in its teaching and in its work on the ground.
“The Second Vatican Council, St. John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI all spoke out passionately and forcefully against the infamy of human trafficking and the widespread hedonistic and commercial culture that encourages this systematic exploitation of human dignity and rights,” Archbishop Auza said, but he stated that Pope Francis has Francis’ advocacy has taken the Church’s action and advocacy “to another level,” denouncing it repeatedly in his encyclicals and exhortations, in speeches and peace letters, in promoting numerous conferences in the Vatican and more.
“While human trafficking always exploits the vulnerable, the trafficking of children and youth exploits those most vulnerable of all,” Auza said.