Holy See Address on Promotion of Human Rights
"The Time Has Come to Apply Principles of Authentic Religious Freedom"
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 31, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is the address delivered last Friday by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy See's permanent observer to the United Nations, to a General Assembly committee. The panel was reflecting on the "Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: Human Rights Questions, Including Alternative Approaches for Improving the Effective Enjoyment of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms."
* * *
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your election and leadership of this Committee and thank the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief for her report on the elimination of all forms of religious intolerance.
Three of the themes considered during her June 2006 visit to the Vatican merit particular attention, namely, the coexistence of different religions and religious communities, the propagation of religion, including the sensitive issue of proselytism, and the relationship between freedom of expression and religion. My delegation shares the Special Rapporteur's position that the need for interreligious dialogue at all levels is of crucial importance not only for resolving disputes, but also for fostering peaceful coexistence that enables all religions to live side by side and in mutual respect.
As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the 1981 Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, my delegation is seriously concerned that freedom of religion or belief does not exist for individuals and communities, especially among religious minorities, in many parts of the world. We are also concerned that the high level of religious intolerance in some countries is leading to an alarming degree of polarization and discrimination. We share a grave duty to work together to reverse this trend.
While religious tolerance is sometimes characterized as accepting or permitting those religious beliefs and practices which disagree with one's own, the time has come to move beyond this type of religious tolerance, and to apply instead the principles of authentic religious freedom.
Religious freedom is the right to believe, worship, propose and witness to one's faith. It grants the opportunity and creates the occasions for people to profess freely the tenets of their faith. Furthermore, it includes the right to change one's religion and to associate freely with others in order to express one's religious convictions. Religious tolerance is simply a starting point, a basis for universal religious freedom and there cannot be full religious tolerance without an effective recognition of religious freedom.
We know well that, historically, tolerance has been a contentious issue among believers of different faiths. However, we have come to a turning point in history which demands more of us, including a commitment to interreligious dialogue. At the same time, my delegation is increasingly convinced of the indispensable importance of reciprocity, which, by its very nature, is apt to ensure the free exercise of religion in all societies.
The Holy See continues to be concerned by a number of situations where the existence of enacted or proposed legislative and administrative measures for placing limits on the practice, observance or propagation of religion are a reality. Likewise, the Holy See is concerned with those situations where religion or freedom of religion is used as a pretext or a justification for violating other human rights.
Furthermore, there appears to exist a recurring case of intolerance when group interests or power struggles seek to prevent religious communities from enlightening consciences and thus enabling them to act freely and responsibly, according to the true demands of justice. Likewise, it would be intolerant to denigrate religious communities and exclude them from public debate and cooperation just because they do not agree with options nor conform to practices that are contrary to human dignity.
National and global decision making, legal and political systems, and all people of good will must cooperate to ensure that diverse religious expressions are not restricted or silenced. Every individual and group must be free from coercion and no one should be forced to act in a manner contrary to his or her beliefs, whether in private or public, whether alone or in association with others. It is important here to pay particular attention to the needs of the weakest groups, including women, children, refugees, religious minorities and persons deprived of their liberty. The disturbing signs of religious intolerance, which have troubled some regions and nations, at times affecting even majority religious groups, are much to be regretted.
Part of the founding ethos of the U.N. is the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Therefore, it is this Assembly's duty to continue to provide the leadership that ensures and protects these fundamental rights and fosters full religious freedom in every land.
In our diverse and ever-changing world, religion is more than an internal matter of thought and conscience. It has the potential to bind us together as equal and valuable members of the human family. We cannot overlook the role that religion plays in feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, healing the sick and visiting the imprisoned.
Nor should we underestimate its power, especially in the midst of conflict and division, to turn our minds to thoughts of peace, to enable enemies to speak to one another, to foster those who were estranged to join hands in friendship, and have nations seek the way to peace together. Religion is a vital force for good, for harmony and for peace among all peoples, especially in troubled times.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[Original text in English; adapted]
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Human, Rights, Freedom, Solidiarity, Migliore
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Pope Francis wants to change the Lord's Prayer, but what do the new ...
- Daily Readings for Wednesday, December 13, 2017
- How does the Vatican fight money laundering?
- St. Lucy: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, December 13, 2017
- Here's when you'll see the first self-driving trucks on the road
- Is Facebook ripping apart human civilization? HD Video
- Daily Reading for Thursday, December 14th, 2017 HD Video
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, December 13th, 2017 HD
- Attempted terror attack fails in Manhattan as pipe bomb explodes early HD
- Here's how Pope Francis wants to change the Lords Prayer HD
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, December 12th, 2017 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way