Vatican Official Calls for World Day on Anti-Christian Persecution

Says as Many as 200M Christians Suffering Discrimination

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VILNIUS, Lithuania, DEC. 7, 2011 ( A Vatican official is calling for a World Day to mark anti-Christian violence and persecution, saying there might be more than 200 million Christians suffering discrimination.

Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Holy See’s secretary for Relations with States, addressed the 18th Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) held today and Tuesday in Vilnius, Lithuania.

The archbishop addressed the Organization’s commitments in defense of fundamental freedoms and human rights, one of which is the right to freedom of religion. «The right to religious freedom, despite being repeatedly proclaimed by the international community, as well as in the constitutions of most states, continues to be widely violated today,» he lamented. 

Benedict XVI himself recalled, in his message from this year’s World Day of Peace, that Christians «are the religious group which suffers most from persecution on account of its faith,» the prelate noted.

According to Archbishop Mamberti, «there may be more than 200 million Christians, of different confessions, who are in difficulty because of legal and cultural structures that lead to their discrimination.» For this reason, he proposed the institution of an International Day against persecution and discrimination of Christians as «an important sign that governments are willing to deal with this serious issue.»

Trafficking, migration

Archbishop Mamberti also spoke about the problem of trafficking in human beings, especially of women and minors, for sexual exploitation as well as for labor exploitation and domestic servitude, which has become a «powerful global business involving many countries of origin, transit, and destination. To counteract the scourge of trafficking in human beings with greater determination and more concrete results, a convergence of efforts is necessary: a mentality that is centered on the unique dignity of every person, a sure punishment of traffickers, the fight against corruption, … and the fairness of mass media in reporting the damages created by trafficking.»

And, regarding the topic of migration, the prelate noted the need to support migrants’ reunification with their families since «the family plays a fundamental role in the integration process, in giving stability to the presence of the immigrants in the new social environment. … Migrants, aware of their rights, can be more secure in offering their services and talents, and the receiving community, well-informed and respectful of these rights, will feel freer in extending its solidarity in order to build together a common future.»

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