Statement by the Holy See
"In Explanation of Position After Adoption"
on Draft Resolution A/C.3/76/L.59
on the "Office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees"
Adopted by the Third Committee
of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly
New York, November 12, 2021
My Delegation would like to thank the Delegation of Finland for tabling, on behalf of the Nordic Countries, this draft resolution on “Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.”
Offering concrete aid and protection to refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons and other people of concern to the UNHCR remains a high priority for the Holy See. My Delegation appreciates that this year’s text recognizes the particularly severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on refugees and other persons of concern to the Office, as well as their host communities and countries, and countries of origin (cf. PP6). We also welcome the call to take appropriate measures to address climate change, including with a view to building local and national resilience and capacity to prevent, prepare for and respond to displacement in this context (cf. OP72).
While my Delegation recognizes that the new language added to this year’s text was negotiated and adopted in Geneva a few weeks ago, we would like to underscore that this resolution contains elements of significant concern for the Holy See. In this regard, the explanation of position delivered by the Delegation of the Holy See at the 72nd Session of the Executive Committee of the UNHCR, a body in which the Holy See serves as a member, remains valid.
To these points and in conformity with its nature and particular mission, the Holy See is obliged to make the following reservation on the following concepts used in the resolution just adopted:
The Holy See considers “sexual and reproductive health” (OP48) and “sexual and reproductive health care services” (OP49) 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 term.
We request that this statement be included in the journal of this meeting.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.