Monday 18 October 2010
Statement by H.E. Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, before the Plenary of the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly on item 15: Culture of Peace, New York, 18 October 2010
Statement by H.E. Archbishop Francis ChullikattApostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See65th session of theUnited Nations General Assembly Before the Plenary, on item 15:Culture of PeaceNew York, 18 October 2010 Mr. President,As the General Assembly once again considers this agenda item, my delegation takes this opportunity to reaffirm the importance of States’ working together to build a culture of peace, to cultivate productive, sincere relationships, to seek out and follow the paths of forgiveness and reconciliation, to be transparent in their dealings with others and to be faithful to their word. If cultures are comprised of human persons, surely human persons can form a durable culture of peace. Such an attitude is at the heart of this Organization which was founded on the determination to live together in harmony as good neighbours, uniting to maintain international peace and security. For the promotion of a culture of peace my delegation also takes this opportunity to affirm the importance of interreligious cooperation, mutual understanding, open-mindedness, solidarity and an improvement of overall relations among all civilizations and peoples from different cultural and religious backgrounds.Mr. President,The unique contribution of religions to promoting a culture of peace lies within their missions to serve the spiritual and transcendental dimension of human nature. Further, they contribute to the respect for human life and the observance of all human rights and fundamental freedoms. Religions promote reconciliation by impelling persons to move forward in a spirit of mutual cooperation. In a concrete way, they help facilitate the realization of peace which is not merely the absence of conflict but the harmonious coexistence of individual citizens within a society governed by justice, one in which the good of all is promoted to the greatest possible extent. Religions help accomplish all that is within our human capacity.In this regard, my delegation calls to mind the ongoing work of the Holy See for almost forty years in reaching out to other religious traditions to promote interreligious harmony. Recent initiatives include the regular meetings of the Joint Committee for Dialogue of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Permanent Committee of the Al-Azhar for Dialogue among the Monotheistic Religions, the most recent of which was held this year in Cairo and concluded, among other things, that the many causes for violence among believers of different religious traditions involve the manipulation of the religion for political or other ends, discrimination based on ethnicity or religious identity, divisions and social tensions, as well as ignorance, poverty and underdevelopment.Yet, it must be added that there were also important recommendations given, namely: to open our hearts to mutual forgiveness and reconciliation for a peaceful and fruitful coexistence, to recognize what we have in common and respect legitimate differences as a basis for a culture of dialogue, to recognize and respect the dignity and the rights of each human being without any bias related to race, ethnicity or religious affiliation, to acknowledge the necessity of promulgating just laws which guarantee the fundamental equality of all and to recall the importance of education towards cultivating respect, dialogue and fraternity in the various educational arenas. These are concrete ways of opposing violence among followers of different religions and promoting peace and harmony among religions.Mr. President, The recent report of the Secretary-General on Intercultural, interreligious and intercivilizational dialogue (A/65/269) has highlighted the activities of various United Nations entities that contribute to the promotion of dialogue among cultures, civilizations and religions. The report also brings attention to the work of various offices and agencies of the United Nations system in promoting interreligious cooperation.In this regard, it is important that UN offices and agencies engage cultures with full regard for the role of religion. One crucial way of doing so is by not attempting to foster global and regional networks that advance principles at odds with the natural moral order, in particular, a reproductive rights agenda which runs counter to respect for the right to life of the unborn child. Such an approach would be an attempt to misuse religion for a particular agenda and would be disrespectful to the followers of the various faith traditions.Besides, my delegation calls to mind and highlights the report to the Human Rights Council (A/HRC/14/23) of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. This report emphasizes the role of the right to freedom of expression and access to means of communication in combating discrimination as well as fostering intercultural understanding and dialogue. At the same time, my delegation looks forward with interest to the series of expert workshops on the prohibition of incitement to national, racial or religious hatred that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights will be holding this coming year.Mr. President,The followers of religions can do a great deal to promote lasting peace and harmony in the world and the Holy See is grateful for the various initiatives aimed at achieving this noble goal. For its part, my delegation remains committed to working with those of other faith traditions to help bring about a culture of peace for the benefit of the entire human family and encourages all States to fully ensure the right to freedom of religion and conscience for all persons and communities for the peaceful coexistence of all members of the human family.Thank you Mr. President.