U.N. Is Told Not to Forget About Children's Needs

Vatican Aide Addresses Session on Rights

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NEW YORK, OCT. 15, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican told the United Nations that too many children still lack access to an education that could give them a better future.

Archbishop Renato Martino, the Vatican’s permanent observer at the United Nations, made this contention Monday when he addressed the Third Committee during the 57th Session of the General Assembly. «Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Children» was the topic on the agenda.

Referring to the U.N. declaration «A World Fit for Children,» Archbishop Martino, emphasized the need to «put children first; eradicate poverty; leave no child behind; care for every child; educate every child; protect children from harm and exploitation; protect children from war; combat HIV/AIDS; listen to children and ensure their participation; protect the earth for children.»

It is easy to make commitments with words, the archbishop said. «What is difficult, what takes time, energy and political will is the carrying out of that pledge, of changing words into actions,» he added.

The Church is committed to this task, he said. One of its objectives has always been to promote and protect «the rights of children» and to care «for their spiritual and physical well-being,» he added.

Among the many endeavors to help children, Archbishop Martino mentioned the Pontifical Society of the Holy Childhood, which supports «some 4,000 projects for the neediest children,» regardless of religion.

The archbishop, who recently was appointed by John Paul II as president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said the «future of humanity rests upon the shoulders of today’s children and young people.»

Archbishop Martino exhorted the international community «to lighten that burden by continuing to promote and protect their rights and provide them with what they need to enhance their well-being.»

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