Protection of Children Linked to Guarding of Family

Vatican Addresses Committee of U.N. General Assembly

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NEW YORK, OCT. 27, 2003 ( The Holy See reminded the United Nations that the best way to improve the dramatic condition of children is to support the family.

Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, stressed this point when addressing a committee of the General Assembly on the “Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Children.”

“Improving child health and nutrition is a priority,” the archbishop said. He cited the situation of so many children who are victims of sexual abuse, of violence and wars, of the scourge of drugs, and of HIV/AIDS, either through mother-to-child viral transmission or by being orphaned due to the AIDS-related premature death of their parents.

“In promoting the well-being of children, the family, as the fundamental unit of society and the natural environment for the growth and development of children, should be given all the necessary protection and assistance,” the archbishop stressed Oct. 20.

“It is in the family that the rights of children are respected best, in accordance with the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity,” he continued. The Vatican press office released the text of his address today.

“The concern for the child, while it is a challenge to society as a whole, is primarily and more directly a challenge to families,” he said. “The Holy See has always affirmed that parents have the duty and the right to be the first and the principal educators of their children.”

“The need for a set of norms to protect the various rights of the child is necessary also because of the lack of a real family policy that is fully guaranteed by law,” he said.

“Moreover, in the context of the upcoming celebration of the 10th anniversary of the International Year of the Family, efforts should be intensified to recognize the social role of the family based on marriage which is irreplaceable for the common good,” the papal representative said. “To protect the family means to protect the children.”

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