By Holy See Mission
Statement Made by His Eminence Pietro Cardinal Parolin, Secretary of State of His Holiness Pope Francis, to the UN Security CouncilOpen Debate on foreign terrorist fighters in connection with the agenda item “Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts” Mr. President, My Delegation commends the United States of America for convening this timely Security Council open debate on “Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts”. Mr. President, Today’s debate comes at a time when we face the dehumanizing impact of terrorism fueled by violent extremism. The ongoing, and in some regions, escalating use of terror is a reminder that this challenge requires a shared commitment from all nations and people of good will. Indeed, terrorism represents a fundamental threat to our common humanity. This institution was founded in the wake of an era in which a similar nihilistic view of human dignity sought to destroy and divide our world. Today, as then, nations must come together in order to fulfill our primary responsibility to protect people threatened by violence and direct assaults on their human dignity.1 Pope Saint John Paul II reminded us in the wake of the tragic events of 11 September 2001 that the right to defend countries and peoples from acts of terrorism does not provide license to meet violence with violence, but rather “must be exercised with respect for moral and legal limits in the choice of ends and means. The guilty must be correctly identified, since criminal culpability is always personal and cannot be extended to the nation, ethnic group or religion to which the terrorists may belong.”2 International cooperation must also address the root causes upon which international terrorism feeds. In fact, the present terroristic challenge has a strong socio-cultural component. Young people travelling abroad to join the ranks of terrorist organizations often come from poor immigrant families, disillusioned by what they feel as a situation of exclusion and by the lack of integration and values in certain societies. Together with the legal tools and resources to prevent citizens from becoming foreign terrorist fighters, Governments should engage with civil society to address the problems of communities most at risk of radicalization and recruitment and to achieve their satisfactory social integration. Mr. President, The Holy See – which is a sovereign international subject that also represents a world faith community – affirms that people of faith have a grave responsibility to condemn those who seek to detach faith from reason and instrumentalize faith as a justification for violence. As Pope Francis reiterated during his visit to Albania last Sunday, “Let no one consider themselves to be the 'armour' of God while planning and carrying out acts of violence and oppression! May no one use religion as a pretext for actions against human dignity and against the fundamental rights of every man and woman, above all, the right to life and the right of everyone to religious freedom!”3 At the same time, it should be stressed that to counter the phenomenon of terrorism, achieving cultural understanding among peoples and countries and social justice for all is indispensable. For “whenever adherence to a specific religious tradition gives birth to service that shows conviction, generosity and concern for the whole of society without making distinctions, then there, too, exists an authentic and mature living out of religious freedom.”4 Thank you, Mr. President. CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY ___________________________ 1 Cf. Pope Benedict XVI, Meeting with the Members of the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization, 18 April 2008. 2 Pope John Paul II, Message for the World Day of Peace, No Peace Without Justice No Justice Without Forgiveness, 1 January 2002, para 4.3 Pope Francis, Address at Welcoming Ceremony in Tirana, Albania, 21 September 2014.4 Pope Francis, Address to Leaders of other Religions and Other Christian Denominations in Tirana, Albania, 21 September 2014.
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