Monday 17 October 2011
Statement by H.E. Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, Before the Plenary of the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly, on Item 19: “Culture of peace” New York, 17 October 2011
Statement by H.E. Archbishop Francis ChullikattApostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See66th session of the United Nations General Assembly Before the Plenary,on Item 19:  “Culture of peace”New York, 17 October 2011Mr. President,    As the General Assembly once again takes up this agenda item, my delegation draws attention to the critical role that the United Nations Organization plays in the promotion and strengthening of a culture of peace throughout the world. As the Declaration on a Culture of Peace (A/RES/53/243) affirmed, such a culture must be based on respect for life, the ending of violence and the promotion and practice of non-violence through education, dialogue and cooperation; the fuller development of a culture of peace is integrally linked to advancing understanding, tolerance and solidarity among all civilizations, peoples and cultures, including towards ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities.Mr. President,     This is as important now as it was then, for governments have a responsibility to respect and protect all persons, foster peace and promote education, dialogue and cooperation for the building of a society marked by harmonious coexistence.    During the General Debate of this sixty-sixth regular session of the General Assembly, my delegation affirmed that respect for religious liberty is the fundamental path for peace building, the recognition of human dignity and the safeguarding of the rights of  the human person.    Unfortunately today there are numerous situations in which the right of religious liberty is injured or denied, especially for  believers of different religions. There is an increase of religiously motivated intolerance and unfortunately, one sees that Christians, in various parts of the world, are increasingly subjected to discrimination and violence because of their faith, including the recent tragic incidents in Egypt.Mr. President,     Lack of respect for religious freedom is a threat to security and peace and impedes the realization of authentic integral human development. The particular influence of a specific religion in a nation should never imply that citizens belonging to other confessions are discriminated against in social life or, worse still, that violence against them is tolerated.    In this connection, a common commitment to recognize and promote the religious liberty of every person and every community is favored by sincere interreligious dialogue; governments and international agencies are called to support such work among individuals and communities.    Effective measures must be adopted for the protection of all religious minorities wherever they are threatened, in order that, above all, believers of all confessions can live in security and continue making their contribution to the society of which they are members.Mr. President,    Unfortunately there are also countries in the world today, especially some so-called developed countries in which, although great importance is given to pluralism and tolerance, paradoxically, religion tends to be considered as a factor foreign or destabilizing to modern society in which different means are sought to marginalize religion and impede it from influencing social life.    Yet it is an undeniable fact that the great religions of the world have made a significant contribution to the development of civilization, for the sincere search for God has led to greater respect for the dignity of the human person. The Christian communities, with their patrimonies of values and principles, have contributed strongly to individuals’ and peoples’ awareness of their identity and dignity, as well as to the triumph of the institutions of the State of law and to the affirmation of the rights of the human person and of his/her corresponding duties.    In this perspective, it is important that believers, today as yesterday, feel free to offer their contribution to the promotion of the just regulation of human realities, both through a responsible commitment at the civil, economic and political level and through the witness of their charity and faith.Mr. President,    My delegation is aware of the many activities carried out by the main United Nations entities in the field of dialogue. In this regard, it is essential that the activities carried out by such actors truly support cultures and religions in building a culture of peace; this means fully respecting the various religious and ethical values and cultural backgrounds of people in conformity with universally recognized international human rights.Mr. President,    The principles upon which this Organization was founded are a constant reminder for all States to commit themselves to bringing an end to all conflicts and building peaceful coexistence among all peoples. This demands that governments work to protect all their citizens and promote mutual understanding. The more governments are able to do this the more they will be able to achieve their purpose, namely the promotion of the common good, which necessarily entails recognition, respect, defense and promotion of the rights of all persons.    Thank you, Mr. President.