NEW YORK, OCT. 13, 2010 ( The Holy See is underlining the inherent dignity of women as a necessary affirmation that will lead to their advancement.

This was affirmed Tuesday on behalf of Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, by Cathy Murphy, adviser of the mission, before the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly during a period of general discussion of the advancement of women.

The delegate stated that "the authentic advancement of women entails respect for their inherent dignity, including their ethnic and religious identity."

She continued, "The wellbeing of the future of the human community depends to a great extent upon the ability of governments and civil society to truly respect women, their dignity and worth."

The Holy See delegation noted "the recent establishment of UN Women" and expressed the hope "that this new entity will be able to provide real assistance to all states as they work together to improve the lives of women and mothers everywhere."

"A significant development is that more countries are enacting comprehensive legislation which takes into account both placing just penalties on such violence and providing support to and protection of victims," Murphy acknowledged.

She continued, "In this regard it is important to reach out especially to those women who are at times the most needy of assistance, especially mothers, immigrants, rural and indigenous women, women from ethnic and religious minorities and those with physical and psychological disabilities."

The delegate also addressed "the tragedy of human trafficking."

She stated, "It is important that states increasingly highlight the need to address the conditions that make women and children vulnerable to being trafficked, such as poverty and lack of employment and education opportunities, as part of prevention strategies."


Murphy asserted: "The transnational trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation is based on a commodification of human life that facilitates the supply of victims from sending countries and the demand for victims in receiving countries.

"For this reason, laws against prostitution, child pornography and sexual exploitation need to be strengthened in order to better protect women and children.

"The human person is not something to be traded for any purpose!"

She pointed out that "families of trafficked persons also need protection."

"Quite often the main obstacle to collaboration between a victim of trafficking and law enforcement is the intimidation of the victims and their families by the traffickers who promise to threaten the victims' families," the delegate explained.

She underlined the importance of providing basic to all women and offering mothers "essential prenatal care, skilled attendants at all deliveries and specialist care for life threatening complications for both mother and the child yet to be born."

"Predicating aid to developing countries on the basis of acceptance of family planning methods not respectful of the human person does nothing to advance the health and wellbeing of women of today and of tomorrow," Murphy said.

She continued, "What is needed instead is a human-centered approach to caring for others, an approach that is fully respectful of the intrinsic dignity and worth of each and every person -- from the very beginning of conception to natural death--an approach which sees the individual person not as a burden but as a contribution to the human family.

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