Asian Diplomats Huddle to Address Human Rights

ROME, DEC. 14, 2000 (

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Dialogue between cultures should avoid the extremes of individualism and collectivism, a Vatican aide told the Asian diplomatic corps in Rome this week.

«Rights are universal, because they derive from the dignity proper to every person,» Bishop Martin Diarmuid, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said in his address.

He spoke at a meeting organized by the Group of Asian Ambassadors to the Vatican, in the Pontifical Urban University. The meeting aimed to promote discussions among cultures and religions on the universal topic of fundamental rights.

«The dialogue between cultures must promote an intense union at the base,» he said, «to ensure full respect of rights and human dignity, without degenerating into forms of individualism, and to support the profound meaning of the human family, without degenerating into forms of collectivism,» which endanger duties and rights proper to the person.

Mostafa Mohaghegh Damad of the University of Tehran said, «Despite their differences, the faithful of Judaism, Christianity and Islam share in common the priority established by the equality of all men before God.»

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