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Protection of Refugees: UN Leans on Pope’s Voice, Says Archbishop Auza

Reflections on the Pontiff’s Address to the Diplomatic Corps

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“The UN leans strongly on the Pope’s voice in the defense of refugees,” said Archbishop Monsignor Bernardito Auza, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer at the United Nations Organization. The UN “is convinced, that Pope Francis’ voice  “can influence the countries that have a hard attitude towards those that should be aided and not rejected,” he stressed.
This was Archbishop Auza’s comment on the Holy Father’s address to the Diplomatic Corps on January 7, during an interview in Italian with “Vatican News,” on Wednesday, January 9, 2019.
“The Holy See contributed substantially to the Global Compact on Migration, explained the Permanent Observer.
The Pope’s priorities to resolve the difficulties of rejected refugees, as well as the Syrian crisis, are also the UN’s priorities, assured Archbishop Auza. In regard to Syria, “it’s a conflict in which we can clearly see the regional and international rivalries . . . The regional powers should be able to find an agreement for a dignified end,” he explained.
The growing nationalisms and the search for unilateral solutions of oppression, recalled by the Holy Father in his address, cannot leave the UN indifferent, affirmed Archbishop Auza. “The majority of the United Nations Members are aware of the problems raised by the Holy Father.” “Last year, the President of the United National General Assembly held a consultation with all the heads of Missions to verify the state of health of multilateralism: it seemed that, despite the difficulties, the UN is promoting a multilateral policy. And it will do so with growing vigor in the near future,” he added.
Speaking of mechanisms that could generate the search for shared solutions by all the Member States, Archbishop Auza mentioned, among others, “the right of veto of five Permanent Members of the Security Council.” “It’s here that national and regional interests arise, the rivalry,” he said. The more grave and large a conflict is the more probable are the crossed vetoes. It’s one of the great challenges of the United Nations,” he continued.
Archbishop Auza noted that in his address to the Diplomatic Corps, the Pope lamented the “new forms of ideological colonization.” It’s an “imposition of the will and projects of donor countries rather than the taking into account the real needs of countries that should benefit from aid, stressed the Permanent Observer. The rich donors, generally Europeans and North Americans, give money for certain programs that they want to carry out in a country. I’m thinking of reproductive and sexual health . . . It’s an ideological imposition, the Pope is right. We must rethink the international aid policy for development,” he stressed.
In addressing the Diplomatic Corps, Pope Francis also stressed that the International Community is called to defend the most vulnerable and the poorest. “And the UN tries to do so despite numerous difficulties,” noted Archbishop Auza. The United Nations is trying to create a new system, “which can really help the marginalized and suffering countries.” “The present system, hasn’t worked and the structure is no longer adapted to our time,” he explained.
“I see a great will, but also an extreme difficulty,” he continued. It isn’t necessary to multiply the structures, “when the necessary economic resources don’t exist. The funds allocated to development represent an infinitesimal part of the funds invested in the resolution of armed conflicts. We must re-balance the available funds in the UN’s system,” he concluded.

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Marina Droujinina

Journalist (Moscow & Brussels). Theology (Brussels, IET).

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