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Week in Review
November 1, 2019

Prevention of an Arms Race In Outer Space

On October 29, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, gave an intervention before the First Committee of the Seventy-fourth Session of the United Nations General Assembly Item 96, dedicated to the "Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space." The intervention was delivered by Monsignor David Charters. 

Archbishop Auza highlighted the need to address space security and urged for collaborative action so that the UN Disarmament Commission might reconvene its work after an impasse last year. Member States who are signatories of The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 must conduct their activities according to the principles of co-operation and mutual assistance, he said. He pointed to the increasing reliance on outer space platforms for communications and navigation and therefore to the importance of assuring the security of these platforms. He condemned the destruction of the satellites of other States as contrary to the principles of cooperation and peace. He welcomed the possible formation of The International Satellite Monitoring Agency as a framework to provide space security and sustainability as well as to keep outer space free from weapons.

His statement can be found here:

 

Peaceful Uses of Outer Space

On November 1, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, gave an intervention before the Fourth Committee of the Seventy-fourth Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Agenda Item 49(a), dedicated to the "Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.” The intervention was delivered by Monsignor David Charters.
 
Archbishop Auza highlighted the urgent need for all States to commit to the peaceful use of Outer Space. In a world that today faces enormous challenges, particularly on the issue of disarmament, it is necessary to have agreement of the 'rules of the road' for Outer Space use, he said, like there are on earth. As the world is becoming more reliant on using Outer Space platforms in daily life, it is important to foster spirit of cooperation between States so that Outer Space will be used sustainably and peacefully.  Archbishop Auza highlighted the important role that satellites play in helping us to monitor environmental phenomena as well as in the work of development, by connecting remote and rural parts of the world. He praised the State partners in the international Space Station who are working to establish international operational standards.

His statement can be found here


Elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

On October 30, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, gave an intervention before the Third Committee of the Seventy-fourth Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Agenda Item 68 (a, b), dedicated to the "Elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance." The intervention was delivered by Monsignor Fredrik Hansen. 

Archbishop Auza, drawing on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, condemned racism and racial discrimination and challenged the mindset that abets intolerance and racist behavior. He expressed concern over two growing phenomena: the rise in discriminatory, racist and xenophobic attitudes toward migrants and refugees; and the increase in acts of intolerance and discrimination against communities and individuals solely because of their religions and beliefs, mentioning in particular the acts of violence against of Christians and others. He called for a spirit of solidarity, intercultural and interreligious dialogue to overcome indifference and counter fears. 

His statement can be found here:

 

Report of the International Law Commission

On October 31, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, gave a statement before the Sixth Committee of the Seventy-fourth Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Agenda Item 79, dedicated to the "Report of the International Law Commission, specifically those chapters concerned with crimes against humanity, peremptory norms of general international law (jus cogens), and protection of the environment in relation to armed conflicts. The intervention was delivered by Monsignor Fredrik Hansen. 

Archbishop Auza stated that every effort should be made by States to put an end to political, religious and ethnic violence, not to mention crimes against humanity like human trafficking. There is a legal responsibility placed upon all States, he said, to prosecute the perpetrators of such crimes and to cooperate with each other to hold such malefactors responsible and assist victims. He welcomed the draft articles on the prevention and punishment of crimes against humanity prepared by the International Law Commission as well as its decision to recommend to the General Assembly the elaboration of an International Convention on the prevention and punishment of crimes against humanity. He praised in particular the inclusion of the principle of non-refoulement and regretted the failure to include a proper grounding in international law for the use of the term "gender.” He said that two issues should be kept in mind: victims of crimes against humanity should have the opportunity to seek justice and have their voices heard at an international level, and assistance to States with fragile judicial systems must be provided so that they have the tools to protect racial, ethnic and religious minorities. 

His statement can be found here: