On October 31, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN gave an intervention at the Third Committee of the Seventy-First Session of the General Assembly dedicated to Agenda item 68 (b,c), concerning the “Promotion and protection of human rights.”
In its statement, the Holy See stressed that at the heart of human rights is the recognition that all human beings have equal human dignity and value and a fundamental right to life that should be upheld and protected at all stages of human existence. The Holy See said that the Third Committee’s discussions ought to prioritize this right in its consideration of the unborn, migrants, victims in armed conflict, the poor, elderly and those facing the death penalty. It commended the Committee for recognizing that the right to life concerns not only direct acts or omissions by States to deprive individuals of life but also to address deprivations of that right in poverty, grossly inadequate living situations and homelessness. Global consensus to eliminate the use of the death penalty is a welcome step toward protecting life. A constitutive element of human rights and dignity requires recognizing the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including the right to change one’s religion or belief and to manifest that belief in teaching, preaching, worship and observance. Some are being persecuted, imprisoned and killed in different parts of the world solely because of religious belief. The Holy See said that the protection and promotion of freedom of religion or belief is of fundamental importance if we are going to make progress in the protection and promotion of human rights.
The statement can be found here.