Holy See: It's Easier to Get a Gun Than an Education

Urges Compliance With Armaments Treaties

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NEW YORK, NOV. 20, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See is decrying a world situation in which it is easier to get a weapon than to obtain food, shelter and an education.

Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, affirmed this Wednesday at the U.N. Security Council meeting on «Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Strengthening Collective Security Through General Regulation and Reduction of Armaments.»

«The dramatic consequences of the illicit global arms trade call the international community to redouble its commitment to create new control mechanisms,» he said.

The issue of regulating and reducing armaments is linked with worldwide security problems, the Holy See official continued. He noted: «Recently […] we heard a delegate from Africa say that ‘for every African, there are seven illicit bullets and three guns targeted at him or her. This is scandalous especially at a time when an unacceptably high ratio of the world’s population still lives below the poverty line.'»

«This,» Archbishop Migliore lamented, «is but one example among many. My delegation shares the grave concern of conflict-ridden countries, whose experience tells us that illicit trade in arms, their accumulation and illicit production are a hindrance to the peaceful settlement of disputes, turn tensions into armed conflicts and are a key factor in prolonging them, thus heavily compromising peace and development.»

He continued: «The lack of regulation and commitment to reducing global arms supply has created a world in which weapons are more easily obtainable than food, shelter and education. Clearly, by dedicating even a portion of the $1.3 trillion spent on arms to programs designed to promote the full social, economic and spiritual growth of people, we will not only be creating a better and safer world but also promoting a new respect for life and one another.»

In this context, the archbishop made a plea for peace in Congo, saying the Holy See «strongly condemns the massacres being committed under the eyes of the international community in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and calls for all efforts to stop this human tragedy.»

In that regard, the prelate urged the speedy implementation of the Nairobi Protocol on Prevention, Control and Reduction of Small Arms and Light Weapons.

Finally, Archbishop Migliore affirmed that the Holy See delegation «fully agrees with the need to develop a new security consensus which will assist in achieving the internationally agreed development goals, security and respect for human rights. Greater efforts, political will, transparency, flexibility and openness are needed. My delegation shares the view that to begin such a process, the first and most important step is to ensure that states abide by the treaties they have signed and ratified.»

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