Rights Need Rescuing, Says Lawyer

Denounces Nations With Skeletons in the Closet

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MADRID, Spain, NOV. 23, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Rescuing human rights from their ideological kidnappers is everyone’s duty, according to a Spanish lawyer and professor who is a consultor to the Vatican’s family council.

Rafael Navarro-Valls affirmed this Friday at an annual Catholics and Public Life conference in Madrid. He spoke on the topic of human rights and unjust law.

Navarro-Valls characterized the struggle for human rights as a constant effort of millions of people who «intervene in a thousand ways in the thousand crossroads of human affairs.»

Everyone is called to this struggle, he affirmed, and in it, one of the great priorities is religious liberty, «the first of liberties.»

«Precisely for this reason Pope Ratzinger has insisted that it is inconceivable that believers must do away with part of themselves — their faith — to be active citizens,» Navarro-Valls said. «It should never be necessary to deny God to be able to enjoy one’s rights.»

He denounced governments or regimes «that would like to relegate Christians or Catholics to the social catacombs.»

Deep roots
Navarro-Valls explained that human rights date much farther back than the French Revolution.

«They sink their deepest roots in that mixture of Judaism and Christianity that configures the face of the economic and social body of Europe,» he affirmed. «As [Italian historian] Norberto Bobbio said, the great change in the recognition of man as person had its beginning in the West with the Christian concept of life, according to which all men are brothers inasmuch as they are children of God.»

Today, the Vatican consultor emphasized, fundamental rights «should be rescued from the pressures of minorities and the impositions of political majorities.»

«Human rights must be placed above politics,» he stressed.

Navarro-Valls said civil society must «unmask those nations that, in the matter of human rights, have skeletons in their closets.»

It is a priority for everyone, he concluded, to «denounce the kidnapping of human rights — rights to free speech, life, religious liberty, the dignity of the person.»

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