Anti-Terrorism Fight Must Respect Laws, Says Vatican

At Meeting of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe

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WARSAW, Poland, SEPT. 12, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican stressed to the international community that terrorism cannot be combated by violating the laws and bases of democracy.

Monsignor Ettore Balestrero, head of the Vatican delegation, expressed this reminder during the two-week annual meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which began here Monday. The meeting is focusing on human rights.

“There is no possibility of effectively addressing the scourge of terrorism without a functioning rule of law,” the papal representative said.

“The risk of undermining the very basis of democracy and the rule of law, even with the reason of coming to its defense, should be avoided,” Monsignor Balestrero told the 500 participants.

He also presented the “Decalogue of Peace,” which religious leaders proclaimed in Assisi, Italy, on Jan. 24. The decalogue rejected and condemned “every recourse to violence and war in the name of God or of religion.”

The Vatican delegate emphasized that no “civil law on religious communities may, therefore, be used to limit the activities, which are expressions of the religious freedom of those communities and of their individual members.”

In addition, the speaker stressed that “member states of the OSCE should, therefore, reject any pressure possibly exercised … by whatever religious confession, even if especially important on their territory, which might damage the expressions of religious freedom of other religious communities.”

“Those pressures would be, in fact, a lack of tolerance and could hamper the construction of an authentic peace,” the monsignor warned.

Lastly, the Vatican delegate addressed the topic of immigration. He proposed “the regulation of migration with projects respectful of the genuine good of both migrants and the host population.”

With 55 participating countries, OSCE is the largest regional security organization in the world.

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ZENIT Staff

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