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Week in Review
September 28, 2018

Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher at the
73rd Session of the General Assembly

 

Above, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States and Head of the Delegation of the Holy See to the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, greets President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at a Reception hosted by the United States on September 24, 2018. Bottom left, Archbishop Gallagher delivers remarks at the high-level event entitled, "Freedom from Persecution: Christian Religious Minorities, Religious Pluralism in Danger." Bottom right, Archbishop Gallagher speaks at a luncheon for Holy See experts and staff, thanking them for their service and giving them the greetings and gratitude of Pope Francis.

 

Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Holy See's Secretary for Relations with States and Head of the Delegation of the Holy See to the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, joined world leaders during the UN’s busiest week of year. Archbishop Gallagher participated in various debates and high level meetings as well as met one-on-one with foreign ministers and heads of state or government of various nations.

On Monday, Archbishop Gallagher is scheduled to deliver the remarks of the Holy See at the General Debate.

Summaries of the nine statements he delivered this week follow, with links to the full text.

 

Statements


Freedom from Persecution:
Christian Religious Minorities, Religious Pluralism in Danger
 

On September 28, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States and Head of the Delegation of the Holy See to the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, gave an address during a side event entitled, “Freedom from Persecution: Christian Religious Minorities, Religious Pluralism in Danger,” sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Hungary.  
 
In his statement, Archbishop Gallagher underlined the hard truth that although Christianity’s beginning was in the Middle East, ancient Christian communities are struggling to survive. Christians, he said, have always been part of the fabric of the Middle East, co-existing with Muslims, and have actively contributed to their respective societies. This relatively harmonious co-existence, he said, was recently shattered by Islamic extremist groups. This is not only a religious question but one of fundamental human rights, one that demands a response from public authorities. Archbishop Gallagher focused on the responsibility to protect people from persecution, false detention, expropriation of property, enslavement, forced exile, murder, ethnic cleansing and other crimes against humanity. Such protection must include addressing the root causes of discrimination and persecution. He highlighted three elements that are essential in doing so: full respect for the rule of law and full equality before the law based on the principle of citizenship, regardless of religious, racial or ethnic differences; assistance by the international community to States so that they may exercise their responsibility to protect and safeguard their populations from atrocity crimes; and third, justice for those who have egregious attacks and violations of their fundamental human rights. He also mentioned the specific responsibility of religious leaders to confront and condemn the abuse of religious belief to justify terrorism and violence against believers of other religions.

His statement can be found here.

 

Ministerial-Level Meeting on the
Central African Republic

 

On September 27, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States and Head of the Delegation of the Holy See to the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, gave an intervention during the Ministerial-level meeting on the Central African Republic (CAR).

In his statement, Archbishop Gallagher said that the ongoing political and humanitarian crisis in the CAR reveals the present inability of the international community to muster the political will to effectively address the devastating conflict. Since last year’s High-Level Ministerial meeting, there has been a dramatic increase in violence, adding to the sufferings of millions of civilians who have been killed or who have fled as refugees to neighboring countries. Nearly half of the population is in need of basic humanitarian support. He urged the UN’s Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) to exert greater effort to guarantee the human rights of all citizens, protect them from armed aggression and atrocities, regardless of social status or religion. The international community, he added, must help stabilize the national Government through overcoming corruption, ensuring the rule of law, making available basic health assistance and education. Humanitarian assistance is gravely lacking at the moment, he said. He encouraged a sustainable political solution, nonviolence, honest dialogue, openness to forgiveness and reconciliation, religious tolerance and cooperation. He committed the Catholic Church to continuing to foster inclusive dialogue, humanitarian relief, and everything that promotes stability, peace and unity.

His statement can be found here.

 

Prevention and Control of
Non-Communicable Diseases
 

On September 27, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States and Head of the Delegation of the Holy See to the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, gave an intervention during the High Level Meeting entitled “Scaling up multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral responses for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
 
In his statement, Archbishop Gallagher said that the Holy See welcomes the attention being given at the UN to the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) to reduce premature mortality and improve quality of life. He said that that NCDs are liked to four main risk factors: tobacco use, alcohol abuse, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity, unhealthy behaviors that paradoxically can become imitated by the young and impressionable; education toward healthy lifestyles is therefore key. In an increasingly interdependent world, he said, sickness and unhealthy lifestyles can cross boundaries and therefore solidarity and cooperation are practical and ethical necessities. He stressed the important role of faith-based organizations in health care delivery, especially to the poor and marginalized, and said they need for that reason to be included in the formulation of local or national health care plans and receive proper support. The best health care principles and protocols must guide the formulation of health care plans and must include the respect for the right to life from conception until natural death as well as the right to basic health care. He advised engaging experts and institutions toward a reciprocal exchange of knowledge, on the one hand, and concrete actions on behalf of those who suffer on the other.

His statement can be found here.

 

 
The International Day for the
Total Elimination for Nuclear Weapons

 
On September 26, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States and Head of the Delegation of the Holy See to the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, gave an intervention during the High-Level Plenary Meeting to commemorate and promote The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.
 
In his statement, Archbishop Gallagher said that the International Day for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons affirms the international community’s common commitment to create conditions and steps for the total elimination of nuclear weapons. The world is not safer with nuclear weapons, he insisted, because peace and international stability cannot be founded on the threat of mutually assured annihilation. He also said that relying on the possession of nuclear weapons is contrary to the spirit and purpose of the UN. He urged the ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, which he said complement the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and must be fully implemented. He said that for these treaties to be signed, ratified and enter in force, trust among nations is needed, a trust that has been eroded by the recent lack of progress in nuclear disarmament and by the decision of some States to develop nuclear weapons capabilities.

His statement can be found here.

 

United to End Tuberculosis:
An Urgent Global Response
to a Global Epidemic
 

On September 26, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States and Head of the Delegation of the Holy See to the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, gave an intervention during the first-ever High-level Meeting dedicated to tuberculosis, entitled “United to end tuberculosis: an urgent global response to a global epidemic.”
 
In his statement, Archbishop Gallagher said that the three most important elements of the fight against tuberculosis (TB) are to recognize the gravity of the problem, the urgency of addressing it and the unity needed to fight it effectively. Even though tuberculosis is preventable and curable, he said, one quarter of the world’s population is still infected with the bacteria that cause the disease and many strands are now resistant to standard treatments. Ninety-nine percent of tuberculosis deaths occur in developing countries and strategies to eliminate it must address the situation of poor nutrition, unhealthy living conditions and lack of basic health care. Archbishop Gallagher said that the world must overcome the segregation and stigmatization that happens to those with TB through compassion and solidarity, particularly by family members. He underlined the importance of medical and pharmaceutical research and of sharing the science and technology of TB treatment and the urgency of a global response to this global epidemic.

His statement can be found here.

 

The Road to Marrakech
 

On September 26, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States and Head of the Delegation of the Holy See to the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, gave an intervention during the High-Level Side Event entitled the “Road to Marrakech,” where in December the formal adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the Global Compact for Refugees will take place.
 
In his statement, Archbishop Gallagher said that the Road to Marrackech began with the 2015 New York Declaration in response to the global crisis of refugees and migrants. The Compacts show the will of the international community to devise more sustainable solutions and better care for those on the move, especially in the most vulnerable situations, Archbishop Gallagher said, and must respond both to the right to migrate as well as the sovereign right of States to protect their borders and set migration policy. He said that the process of the last three years has produced the first-ever comprehensive framework on international migration that will serve as an international reference point for best practices and international management. It will also help everyone be aware of the challenges people on the move face so that countries can meet their shared responsibilities toward them, namely, to welcome, protect, promote and integrate them. Archbishop Gallagher called the Road to Marrakech a shared journey of solidarity, mercy, prudence responsibility and respect.
 

His statement can be found here.

 

 
The Universal Declaration
of Human Rights:
A Prevention Tool to Achieve Peace and
Sustainable Development
 

On September 26, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States and Head of the Delegation of the Holy See to the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, gave an intervention during the High-Level Side Event entitled “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: A Prevention Tool to Achieve Peace and Sustainable Development,” held in anticipation of the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on December 10.
 
In his statement, Archbishop Gallagher said that the founding pillars of the United Nations — peace, human rights, development, and the rule of law — are mutually reinforcing and focused his remarks on how ensuring human rights contribute to the fulfillment of the other pillars. He said that to prevent the phrases “human rights” and “human dignity” from becoming empty, we must remember that rights always imply responsibilities to be fulfilled through concrete commitments and actions. The human rights framework requires, he said, that society not only recognize those civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights but be resolute in tying them to justice, solidarity and the common good and in meeting the basic needs that flow from them. To advance the cause of human rights today, he concluded, the gap between theory and practice must be closed.

His statement can be found here.

 

Death Penalty: Poverty and the
Right to Legal Representation

 

On September 25, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States and Head of the Delegation of the Holy See to the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, gave an intervention during the High Level Side Event entitled “Death Penalty: Poverty and the Right to Legal Representation,” organized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Permanent Missions of Italy, Brazil, Burkina Faso, France and Timor Leste.   
 
In his statement, Archbishop Gallagher said, together with an increasing number of States, the Holy See supports the UN’s sponsorship for the abolition of the death penalty. In the past century, he summarized, the Holy See has consistently sought the abolition of the death penalty considering the practical circumstances found in most States that means other than the death penalty are sufficient to defend human lives and protect public order and safety. The primacy of human life and the dignity of the human person must guide the legislative and judicial practice of State authority, he said, highlighting the recent revision of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (paragraph 2267). He said that the universal abolition of the death penalty would be a courageous reaffirmation of the capacity to deal with crime by bloodless means and of the refusal to succumb to despair before evil acts.

His statement can be found here.

 

Nelson Mandela Peace Summit
 

On September 24, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States and Head of the Delegation of the Holy See to the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, gave an intervention during the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit, which was an extraordinary high-level meeting of the General Assembly. It was held to mark the centenary of Mandela’s birth on July 18, 1918.
 
In his statement, Archbishop Gallagher said that Mandela’s legacy has become synonymous with the promotion of peace, nonviolence, reconciliation, non-discrimination, and human rights. Archbishop Gallagher focused on two lessons from Mandela’s life. The first is that victory never means humiliating a defeated foe, which Mandela showed by his grace and generosity in victory after 27 years of imprisonment and offering a hand of friendship to those who had made him suffer. The second is that peace is consolidated when nations can discuss matters as equals, something that is featured in the way Mandela practiced the concept of Ubuntu, which teaches that we can only flourish when we help people around us flourish. He quoted Mandela’s words that to make peace with your enemy you must work with him and make him your partner.
 

His statement can be found here.

 

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