Vatican Gearing Up for World Summit on Children

September U.N. Meeting Will Address Life and Death Issues

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 1, 2001 ( The Vatican made proposals today to the U.N. committee which is preparing the World Summit on Children in September. The proposals aim to defend life and the family, and eradicate poverty among children.

The summit will be important because a document will be written to revise the 11-year-old World Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children.

Archbishop Renato Martino, permanent observer of the Vatican at the United Nations in New York, made the proposals (see DOCUMENTS below) and promised that his delegation would prepare intensely for the summit.

The archbishop put forward three proposals which he considers fundamental and which are mentioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of Children, and the plan of action that followed from the World Summit on Children 11 years ago.

He mentioned above all «the promotion and protection of the right to life, as well as the dignity and rights of children, both before and after their birth.»

In the second place, the archbishop said the upcoming summit must recognize the family as «the basic unit of society» and «the first responsible to educate and protect children from infancy to adolescence.»

Lastly, he said the document to be approved delegates at the summit «should include strong pronouncements on sustainable development, the cancellation of the debt, and the eradication of poverty.»

If the meeting is not to be reduced to mere words, he warned, «topics that decisively touch the lives of the more than 1 billion children in the world, especially as regards health, food, housing, peace, security and stability, opportunities for education, and the promise of a better future» should be discussed.

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