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plan of action to Safeguard Religious Sites

On June 11, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN, gave an intervention during the Consultations on a United Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites, which took place at UN headquarters in New York. The Statement was delivered by Father David Charters of the Holy See Mission.

In his statement, Archbishop Auza said that Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and the right to manifest one’s religion in worship. Nevertheless, he said, there is still an alarming rise of acts of intolerance, discrimination, persecuted and genocide against religious believers. A UN Plan of Action to safeguard places of worship and other religious sites would be a step in the right direction and should condemn all attacks against places of worship and other religious sites and the ideologies that drive those attacks. He emphasized that the Plan should reaffirm the primary responsibility of States to promote and protect the equality of all citizens before the law and should avoid duplicating or supplanting that national responsibility. Moreover, the Plan should avoid entering into internal religious matters and should underline the importance of fostering a culture of dialogue and encounter. He finished by recommending the Joint Declaration signed on February 4, 2019 by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam Ahmed Al-Tayyeb.

The statement can be found here.