Statement of Position by His Excellency Archbishop Bernardito Auza
after the adoption of the resolution by the General Assembly of the United Nations
to endorse the outcome of the International Conference to Adopt
the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration
UN Headquarters, New York, New York
19 December 2018
The Holy See welcomes the adoption of this resolution by the General Assembly, which endorses the outcome of the International Conference to Adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration adopted on 10 December in Marrakech, Morocco.
Throughout the negotiation process, there has been an honest effort to build the Global Compact on the firm foundation of the international principles and obligations that guarantee respect for the human dignity of all migrants, in full respect for the sovereignty of all Member States.
This first-ever comprehensive framework on migration will serve as the international reference point for best practices and international cooperation in the global management of migration. It will make it possible for everyone, including Governments and non-governmental institutions and organizations, to understand better the challenges that people on the move face, encouraging Governments to assume their shared responsibilities, in particular toward those most in need of our solidarity.
Pope Francis encapsulates these shared responsibilities and the call to solidarity in the four verbs to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate. He has reminded us that before the challenges of contemporary movements of migration, “the only reasonable response is one of solidarity and mercy; a response less concerned with calculations than with the need for an equitable distribution of responsibilities, an honest and sincere assessment of the alternatives and a prudent management.”
The Holy See, while having voted in conformity with its nature and particular mission for the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in Marrakech, wishes to make a number of reservations and comments on the following documents and references cited in the Compact:
1. The Holy See wishes to put on record that, during the intergovernmental negotiations leading to the text of the Global Compact just adopted, it vigorously and consistently called for the deletion of the broad references to the Global Migration Group Principles and Guidelines in paragraph 23(l), the OHCHR Principles and Guidelines in paragraph 27(g), and the WHO Framework of Priorities and Guiding Principles in paragraph 31(e), because these documents are not outcomes of intergovernmental negotiations.Indeed, they contain terminology, principles and guidelines that are not agreed language; thus, these tend to undermine the intergovernmental nature of the process and the transparency needed to reach consensus.
2. Regarding references to the Global Migration Group Principles and Guidelines in paragraph 23(l), the OHCHR Principles and Guidelines in paragraph 27(g), and the WHO Framework of Priorities and Guiding Principles in paragraph 31(e), the Holy See considers the terms “sexual and reproductive health” and “sexual and reproductive health-care services” as applying to a holistic concept of health. We do not consider abortion, access to abortion, or access to abortifacients as a dimension of these terms.
3. The Holy See rejects the so-called “minimum initial service package” (MISP) recommended in the WHO Framework of Priorities and Guiding Principles as among “essential health services”, particularly as some of the MISP kits contain abortifacients and tools to procure abortion.
4. The Holy See understands the term "gender" as grounded in biological sexual identity, male or female. The Holy See thus excludes extraneous and novel interpretations based on ideologies that assert that sexual identity can be adapted indefinitely to suit new and different purposes.
The Holy See asks that these remarks be reflected in the record of this meeting of the General Assembly.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
1. Pope Francis, Homily during the Holy Mass for Migrants, Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican, 6 July 2018.
2. Cf. Reservations of the Holy See to the Programme of Action adopted at the International Conference on Population and Development, Cairo, 13 September 1994.
3. Cf. Reservations of the Holy See to the Documents adopted at the Fourth World Conference of Women, Beijing, 15 September 1995.
4. WHO, Framework of Priorities and Guiding Principles to Promote the Health of Refugees and Migrants, D.7.