Holy See Cautions UN About Abuse of Power

Says Aid Cannot Be Tied to Willingness to Disregard Rights

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NEW YORK, SEPT. 29, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See is decrying the “abuse of power” that causes development aid to hinge on a nation’s willingness to disregard human rights.

Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See at the United Nations, cautioned the U.N. general assembly against such an abuse in his address to the 64th assembly.

The prelate considered what the United Nations needs to do to live up to its charter, and particularly its affirmation that the group is made “to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small. …”

The Holy See representative noted that as the nature of development is considered, “we must always remember that true development necessarily involves an integral respect for human life which cannot be disconnected from the development of peoples.”

“Unfortunately,” he charged, “in some parts of the world today, development aid seems to be tied rather to the recipient countries’ willingness to adopt programs which discourage demographic growth of certain populations by methods and practices disrespectful of human dignity and rights.”

The archbishop continued: “In this regard, it is both cynical and unfortunate that frequent attempts continue to be made to export such a mentality to developing countries as if it were a form of cultural progress or advancement. 

“Yet such a practice is by its nature not one of reciprocity but imposition, and to predicate the decision to give development aid on the acceptance of such policies constitutes an abuse of power.”

Causing crises

The prelate went on to reflect that rights always come with responsibilities, and, he contended, “at the origin of many of the current global crises is the pretense of states and of individual persons that only they have rights and their reluctance to take responsibility for their own and other people’s integral development.”

“Often in the activity of international organisms is reflected an inconsistency already widespread in the more developed societies: On the one hand, appeals are made to alleged rights, arbitrary and non-essential in nature, accompanied by the demand that they be recognized and promoted by public entities, while, on the other hand, fundamental and basic rights, already explicit in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, remain unacknowledged and are violated in much of the world,” he said.

Rights and duties, Archbishop Migliore explained, are not dependent upon treaties and agreements, but rather “find their ultimate foundation in the equal dignity of every individual man and woman, be they citizens or aliens.”

“Ultimately,” he affirmed, “true multilateralism and dialogue among cultures must be based on assuming the duty of commitment for the development of all human beings. We must not forget that the sharing of reciprocal duties is a more powerful incentive to action than the mere assertion of rights.”

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On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full text of Archbishop Migliore’s address: www.zenit.org/article-26994?l=english

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