Leaders Discuss the Importance of
Dialogue and Encounter at Holy See Event
On October 13, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN sponsored a side event entitled “The Other is a Good for Me: The role of interreligious and intercultural dialogue in addressing violence, conflict and building lasting peace in the world today.” The title is based on a subtitle taken from the book Disarming Beauty by Fr. Julián Carrón, President of Communion and Liberation, which co-sponsored the event. The event – as well as the book – aimed to address the root causes of prevalent social issues, as well as to promote dialogue and the culture of encounter necessary to resolve them.
Archbishop Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, said interpersonal dialogue is crucial to building lasting peace, whether on an interpersonal level or an international level, and must be rooted in a sincere willingness to understand the other.
He also noted that while different parties can have differing views, it is important that they approach one other with respect and acknowledge the elements of shared goodness and common ground.
“In various places today, unfortunately, people can focus so much on what divides instead of what unites,” Archbishop Auza said. “It has been difficult to accept differences whether they are religious, political, or cultural.”
Recognizing the inherent goodness in each person can shift the paradigm from conflict to mutual understanding, he said.
“The other is not a threat. The other is not a competitor in an unending battle of survival of the fittest. The other is not an evil to be marginalized or eliminated,” Archbishop Auza said. “The other is an objective and subjective good.”
He noted a principle from Pope Francis about interreligious and intercultural dialogue, the idea of “caminar juntos,” Spanish for "journeying together," which suggests that when people of different cultures and backgrounds begin to walk together, they realize their common humanity and deepen their worldview and sense of mutual respect. This mutual respect, Archbishop Auza implied, is necessary for building lasting peace among persons and nations alike.
Professor Paolo Carozza, Director of the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame, moderated the event, and said a large paradox of the modern age is that while people live in unprecedented global interconnectedness, they also face increasing division and conflict in identity, culture, religion and politics.
He noted that in the halls of the UN, States regularly call for greater dialogue to solve the major crises in the world, but have failed to mitigate and end conflicts.
“This call to greater dialogue is countered by threats of increased force and even nuclear assault,” he said, noting Fr. Carrón’s book works to addresses the causes of the crises, which he said are rooted in a lack of “sense of belonging, the fraying of a culture of common values, the disappearance of our capacity to understand and reason together about the ends and meaning of our lives and our communities.”
Fr. Carrón said that beauty is a common thread that unites all of humanity, and can unite people regardless of differing cultural backgrounds or faith, implying people, communities, governments, and international platforms should encourage dialogue based on shared experience and common ground. The shared encounter of beauty has a “disarming” effect.
“As Pope Francis said, dialogue begins with encounter. Incentivize meaningful encounters and it will build lasting peace,” Fr. Carrón said.
Professor Amitai Etzioni, Director of the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies at The George Washington University, said people must be aware not only of their individual rights, but also their responsibility to their community, and said education plays an important role in teaching the art of dialogue and mutual respect.
“Life is a struggle between our flawed humanity and our capacity to a higher level of fulfillment. We need character education,” he said, noting the most important traits communities must instill in children are delayed gratification and empathy.
Ambassador Teodoro Lopez Locsin, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Philippines to the UN, suggested that religion has a place at the peacebuilding table, noting authentic faith ought to be rooted in a place of humility, in which people realize that they alone cannot answer all of life’s most fundamental questions.
“When he has found a religious answer, he should regard his fellow man of the same or another faith or none at all — as one like himself,” he said: “A person filled with a fearful wonder whom he must treat as he would himself.”
Ambassador Ina Hagniningtyas Krisnamurthi, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Indonesian Mission to the UN, said that while religion is sometimes misused to exacerbate intolerance and conflict, interfaith and intercultural dialogue can help build the bridges necessary to view diversity as a good, which she said is a pillar of her country, in which 750 different dialects are spoken, and several world religions are practiced.
Indonesia’s founding fathers recognized there is a universal truth many of the world’s faiths are grounded in, she said, which is why the country embraced the motto “unity in diversity,” and celebrates multiple national holidays based in various faiths.
This week the Holy See Mission delivered 7 statements at the UN.
Eradication of Poverty
On October 12, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, gave an intervention during the Second Committee debate on Agenda Item 23, dedicated to the “Eradication of Poverty.”
In its statement, the Holy See emphasized that poverty is one of the tragic outcomes of social, economic and political exclusion that blocks the participation necessary for integral human development and concentrates development benefits and opportunities in the hands of some. This exclusion can be abetted by excessive inequality and fiscal austerity policies. What is needed is a concerted strategic focus on pathways to participation, especially education, health, and nutrition; social protection policies for seniors, children and poor families; and policies to increase access to jobs, credit and entrepreneurial opportunities for women. The Holy See urged the United Nations to mainstream social, political and economic inclusion into all aspects of its mission.
The statement can be found here.
Promotion and Protection
of the Rights of Children
On October 10, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, gave an intervention during the Third Committee debate on Agenda Item 68, dedicated to “Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Children.”
In his statement, Archbishop Auza said that the number of unaccompanied refugee and migrant children has increased five-hundred percent in the last five years and many are, to quote Pope Francis, “defenseless” because of their age, migratory status, and lack of guardians. The Convention on the Rights of the Child, Auza said, provides the universal legal basis to ensure the rights of child migrants, like proper identification and registration, legal guardians, education and health care. Armed conflicts are particularly dangerous for children, he said, who are increasingly being used as soldiers, suicide bombers, sex slaves and disposable intelligence gatherers, and schools and child hospitals are being destroyed as a strategy of war. Children, he concluded, cannot be left voiceless, but their fundamental human rights, best interests, protection and integration must concern all.
His intervention can be found here.
Rights of Indigenous Peoples
On October 12, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, gave an intervention during the Third Committee debate on Agenda Item 69, dedicated to the “Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
In its statement, the Holy See said that the recent tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples modeled the type of solidarity that should characterize the participation of indigenous peoples within the work of the United Nations and in States and society in general: they should be treated as dignified partners whose free, prior and informed consent should be sought in all matters concerning them. With regard to their land and resources, they must have the political, economic and social conditions necessary to be agents of their development and destiny. Their right to cultural and social development must be harmonized with the economic development of the States in which they abide. Their faithful witness to a healthy relationship with nature is a service to all of humanity. At the UN, however, the Holy See underlined that there is a need for an agreed definition of “indigenous peoples” that pertains across various contexts.
The statement can be found here.
On October 10, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, gave an intervention during the Second Committee debate on Agenda Item 19, dedicated to “Sustainable Development.”
In his statement, Archbishop Auza said that sustainable development must be integral and go beyond economic growth, but include the growth of the whole person and every person in the context of the community and environment. Sustainable development, he stated, must reject inordinate consumerism and individualism and affirm sustainable consumption and production. He called particular attention to the stresses that climatic changes can have on development and said that solidarity with those suffering from the consequent environmental catastrophes is required by justice. He repeated Pope Francis’ summons to “ecological conversion” and to intergenerational solidarity.
The statement can be found here.
The Scope and Application of the
Principle of Universal Jurisdiction
On October 12, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, gave an intervention during the Sixth Committee debate on Agenda Item 85, dedicated to “The Scope and Application of the Principle of Universal Jurisdiction.”
In its statement, the Holy See said that the solidarity and the responsibility to protect requires, in the face of impunity, resolute action to create universally agreed jurisdictional norms to prosecute and deter the worst violations of human rights. These norms must protect States’ sovereignty, hold civil and military authorities accountable for atrocity crimes, be consistent with the principle of solidarity and the fundamental principles of criminal justice and customary international law. Mechanisms to prevent abuses of universal jurisdiction must be created to avoid future conflicts. The Holy See encouraged further work on the theme and specifically highlighted the need to extend its application to the way that threats or atrocity crimes can forcibly displace whole peoples. When such forced displacements occur, there is a great and urgent responsibility to welcome, protect, promote, and integrate the victims.
The statement can be found here.
Globalization and Interdependence
On October 13, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN gave an intervention during the Second Committee debate on Agenda Item 21, dedicated to “Globalization and Interdependence.”
In its statement, the Holy See underlined that while globalization brings benefits and costs, the benefits are mostly concentrated in the wealthier segments of developed countries, and the costs disproportionately impact those affected by rapid changes in the location of production. Alongside the globalization of markets must be a globalization of solidarity, respect for human rights, the family, and creation. Globalization must be strengthened by this spirit of interdependence, which makes us transcend purely national interests to care for all and for the planet, and envision a united world with a common plan, like the Sustainable Development Goals aspire partially to be. Technical progress must be joined with ethical progress as well.
His intervention can be found here.
General Debate of the First Committee
On October 10, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, gave an intervention during the First Committee General Debate of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
In his intervention, after congratulating ICAN for being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Archbishop Auza said that the numerous violent conflicts throughout the world, the desperate situation of refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons, the scourge of terrorism, nuclear weapons, weapons of mass destruction, the proliferation of arms among non-state actors, and the use of cluster munitions and toxic chemicals against civilian populations all have dimmed the tremendous hopes that filled the world after the end of the Cold War. These situations threatened peace and security, human rights and integral human development. He said that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which the Holy See signed and ratified on September 20, is a step toward complete nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament; at the same time, the slow progress of other treaties, like the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and the Treaty on Intermediate Nuclear Forces, frustrates efforts, for example, to persuade North Korea to end its nuclear arms program. He praised the continued successful implementation of the new START Treaty between the United States and Russia and the engagement of parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in anticipation of the 2020 NPT Review Conference. Finally, he emphasized the importance of the relationship between disarmament and development.
His statement can be found here.
Peace and Reconciliation in Colombia: The Impact of the Visit of Pope Francis
Friday, October 20, 2017 | 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Conference Room 12, UN Headquarters
Peace, Reconciliation and Justice: The Future of Religious Minorities Victimized by Daesh
Thursday, November 2, 2017 | 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Conference Room 8, UN Headquarters