Key Points Outlined for Rescuing Women From Abuse

Archbishop Migliore Addresses U.N. Committee

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NEW YORK, OCT. 17, 2005 ( The United Nations needs to help women gain access to the sources of capital and production, to literacy and to health care, says the Holy See.

Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations, warned of worldwide evidence of the vulnerability which «remains a constant in women’s lives.»

The prelate referred to this evidence on Friday in an address to the 3rd Committee of the 60th session of the U.N. General Assembly on the item: «Implementation of the Outcome of the 4th World Conference on Women and of the Special Session of the General Assembly entitled ‘Women 2000: Gender Equality, Development and Peace in the 21st Century.'»

«All forms of violence against women are rightly to be condemned,» said Archbishop Migliore. Violence «in all its forms, including domestic violence and harmful traditional practices, is a grave violation of the dignity of women and their human rights. In some countries female feticide and infanticide continue.»

The treatment of woman «not as a human person with rights on an equal basis with others, but as an object to be exploited, very often underlies violence against women,» a context in which «an increasing scourge is trafficking of women and girls, as well as various forms of prostitution,» stressed the Holy See representative.

For its part, the Holy See «seeks to work in collaboration with all those of good will in giving priority to social policies aimed at the elimination of the causes of such violence,» hence the holding of the first International Meeting of Pastoral Care for the Liberation of Street Women, organized last June by the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers.

«Any strategy aimed at improving the lives of women must include special consideration for the women and girls who suffer so,» a process that is not exempt from difficulties, but essential for them «to regain their self-esteem, rebuild trusting relationships, and become aware once again of their value, dignity and worth,» said Archbishop Migliore.

Majority of the poor

Recent statistics of the International Labor Organization estimate that women represent 60% of the world’s 550 million working poor, said the prelate, who emphasized that these women do not earn enough either for themselves or their families.

«In order to reverse the process of the feminization of poverty,» the Holy See representative said that «attention should be given to increasing women’s access to and control over productive resources and capital.»

In this connection, Archbishop Migliore alluded to Catholic organizations which are engaged «in microcredit programs for women aimed at empowering them through forming self-management microcredit projects in places like Cambodia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Latin America and the Caribbean.»

Once their role is reinforced, «women will play a key role in the development and well-being of their family, community and society. All members of society have a role to play in promoting that empowerment,» he added.

However, «illiteracy, present especially among women in rural areas, is an evident obstacle to development and to the attainment of women’s basic rights,» the archbishop said.

Health care

He added that «every woman has the right to make the fullest of her potential,» and «investment in the education of girls is the fundamental key to the full advancement of women.»

Archbishop Migliore also pointed out: "Many women today still do not have access even to basic health care. The Holy See continues to advocate a holistic approach to the health of women which does not exclusively focus on a single aspect of a woman but on her overall and comprehensive health care needs.

«It is clear that much still has to be done for the full advancement of women in today’s world. It is to be hoped that the United Nations will play an important role in transforming their legitimate aspirations.»

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