Eugenics Among New Forms of Racism, Warns Vatican Aide

U.N. Rights Panel Also Told of Plight of Immigrants

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GENEVA, MARCH 25, 2002 ( New forms of racism include eugenics and the intolerance of immigrants, a Vatican aide told a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Commission.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, the Vatican´s permanent observer at the U.N. headquarters in Geneva, presented this claim Friday when he addressed the annual session of the commission, being held from March 18 to April 26.

“The scientific community should be especially vigilant to ensure that progress in medicine and biotechnology is used for the benefit of the entire human family and never to the disadvantage of the vulnerable or with latent racist intent,” the archbishop said.

“The temptation of eugenics is still latent, especially if powerful commercial interests dominate it,” he added.

In the struggle against racism, immigrants are a “particularly vulnerable group,” the Holy See´s representative stressed. “The increased mobility of peoples demands more than ever an openness to others.”

“It is paradoxical that migrants and their families should today be exposed to racial intolerance, even in situations in which it is recognized that they bring an irreplaceable contribution to the economic progress of the countries to which they have moved,” added the archbishop, whose address was published today by the Vatican Press Office.

“A globalized community must develop a positive image of migration,” he said. “Attempts to utilize anxieties and alarm in the face of migrants as a calculated tool for short-term political advancement should not be accepted.”

Archbishop Martin described racism as “moral bankruptcy” — an expression used by John Paul II in 1995 in Johannesburg when referring to South Africa´s apartheid — which must be overcome with “solidarity and a recognition of the essential unity of the one human family.”

In the wake of Sept. 11, Archbishop Martin stressed that the “fight against terrorism, however, is by definition a fight in favor of the rule of law, in favor of relationships between persons and nations that are based on respect for the dignity of every human person and their fundamental human rights.”

In this context, the archbishop presented the “Decalogue of Peace to the Commission,” the joint document of the religious leaders who participated in the Day of Prayer for Peace, held in Assisi on Jan. 24.

In that document, the religious leaders affirmed that “violence and terrorism are incompatible with the authentic spirit of religion.” And they proposed a frank and patient dialogue, which recognizes that “to encounter the diversity of others can become an opportunity for greater reciprocal understanding,” Archbishop Martin concluded.

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