December 10, 2018
High-Level Event to Commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Address of His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin,
Secretary of State of His Holiness Pope Francis

at the high-level event to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Marrakech, Morocco   10 December 2018

Excellencies and distinguished guests,
The Holy See is pleased to take part in this commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) whose preamble reminds us that the “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”.[1]
The Global Compact affirms that migration should never be an act of desperation. In many countries of origin, however, individuals feel forced to flee whether due to conflict, violence, environmental degradation, human rights violations, or the inability to secure a dignified life for one’s family. We should do our best to ensure that people might remain in their countries of origin, by building more inclusive, sustainable and just societies, minimizing the adverse drivers and structural factors that deny people their fundamental human rights and compel them to leave.
In countries of transit and destination, every person has the right to be treated with dignity and respect and to have access to basic social services. Similarly, when States determine individuals need to be returned, it should be done in full respect for the principle of non-refoulement and the right to family life and unity.  These are guarantees also for the common good of society and all of its members.
Dear friends,
As Pope Francis has recently reminded us, “[t]he just appeal to the rights of each human being must take into account the fact that every individual is part of a greater body.  Our societies too, like every human body, enjoy good health if each member makes his or her own contribution in the awareness that it is at the service of the common good.”[2] Let this continue to be our contribution as we recommit ourselves today to the realization of the ideals set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Thank you.
1. Preamble, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948).
2. Pope Francis, Address to the Members of the Diplomatic Corps Accredited to the Holy See for the Traditional Exchange of New Year’s Greetings (8 January 2018).