Anti-Terrorism Fight Can’t Be Limited to Punitive Acts, Says Pope

Calls for an Analysis of the Reasons Behind Attacks

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 16, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II says the fight against terrorism should not be limited to repressive operations but must include an analysis of the motives behind attacks.

The Pope states this in his message for the forthcoming World Day of Peace, Jan. 1. The Vatican press office published the message today.

“The scourge of terrorism has become more virulent in recent years and has produced brutal massacres which have in turn put even greater obstacles in the way of dialogue and negotiation, increasing tensions and aggravating problems, especially in the Middle East,” the Holy Father writes.

However, “if it is to be won, the fight against terrorism cannot be limited solely to repressive and punitive operations,” he explains in the message entitled “An Ever Timely Commitment: Teaching Peace.”

“It is essential that the use of force, even when necessary, be accompanied by a courageous and lucid analysis of the reasons behind terrorist attacks,” the Pope urges.

“The fight against terrorism must be conducted also on the political and educational levels: on the one hand, by eliminating the underlying causes of situations of injustice which frequently drive people to more desperate and violent acts; and on the other hand, by insisting on an education inspired by respect for life in every situation,” he adds.

“Today international law is hard-pressed to provide solutions to situations of conflict arising from the changed landscape of the contemporary world,” the Holy Father points out in his message.

Therefore, in “the necessary fight against terrorism, international law is now called to develop legal instruments provided with effective means for the prevention, monitoring and suppression of crime,” he emphasizes.

“In any event, democratic governments know well that the use of force against terrorists cannot justify a renunciation of the principles of the rule of law,” the Pope adds. “Political decisions would be unacceptable were they to seek success without consideration for fundamental human rights, since the end never justifies the means.”

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