On Monday, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin addressed the first World Humanitarian Summit and spoke at a round-table discussion, emphasizing that human dignity has to be at the heart of every response to the world’s difficulties.
The two-day summit was convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and held in Istanbul, Turkey. Pope Francis sent Cardinal Parolin to lead the Holy See’s top-level delegation at the event.
In his address he emphasised Pope Francis’ support for the idea of convening this First World Humanitarian Summit, “hoping that it may succeed in its goal of placing the person and human dignity at the heart of every humanitarian response, in a common commitment, which can decisively eliminate the culture of waste and disregard for human life, so that no one will be neglected or forgotten, and that no further lives will be sacrificed due to the lack of resources and, above all, the lack of political will.”
“The human person should be the aim of any and every humanitarian action. This transcends politics and is ipso facto indispensable, even, and especially, in cases of disasters and conflicts. In our highly interconnected world, the use of force and armed conflicts affect, in different ways, all nations and peoples. No one is spared. A culture of dialogue and cooperation should be the norm in dealing with the world’s difficulties. Heavy reliance on military intervention and selfish economic policies is short-sighted, counter-productive and never the right solution for these challenges.
“Genocide, deliberate attacks against civilians, violence and rape of women and children, destruction of cultural patrimony are certainly the poison of criminal thoughts, but such ideas begin in human hearts and minds. Hence, prevention requires education and changes in formational models that will inculcate respect for the human person, especially the weakest and most fragile. Political leaders have a special responsibility to translate it into concrete actions and policies.
“Prevention of armed conflicts is possible. It is not a dream, nor an illusion. Regions enjoying peace, security and an absence of armed conflicts are proof of this claim. At important junctures in history, great leaders have made prophetic decisions, based on a deep sense and value of the dignity of the human person. By doing so, they have offered their nations the opportunity to build durable and inclusive communities, and have paved the way to a better future for everyone”.
Cardinal Parolin ended his speech by reiterating that “the Holy See is doing its part to build a real and concrete fraternity, among peoples and nations.”
The cardinal also participated at a round table dedicated to the theme “Political leadership to prevent and end conflicts.”
In the debate, attended by Ban Ki-Moon, the cardinal stressed that “in our troubled world rippling with dormant and sweeping conflicts, nothing is more important than preventing and ending hostilities. Wisdom recognises that ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’. Survivors of the death and destruction, massive displacements and destitution that these conflicts cause cry out for urgent action.”
He continued, “The Holy See is firmly convinced of the fundamentally inhumane nature of war and of the urgent necessity to prevent and to end armed conflicts and violence among peoples and States, in a way that is respectful of the common ethical principles that bind all members of the human family and constitute the bedrock for all human or humanitarian actions.”
He said that we “must no longer primarily rely on military solutions; but rather invest in development, which is essential to durable peace and security. Indeed, building durable peace and security means pursuing integral human development as well as addressing the root causes of conflict.”
Highlighting that the Holy See has long embraced this vision, he reaffirmed the following commitments:
The Holy See is committed to fostering, through “informal and formal diplomacy”, a culture of peace, active solidarity and full respect for inherent human dignity, built also on dynamic interreligious dialogue, ever convinced that religions must be a positive force in preventing and ending conflicts.
The Holy See is committed to employing its resources to encourage schools and social institutions to educate for peace and inclusive societies, which are essential to prevent conflicts.
The Holy See is committed to contributing to the collective work to prevent humanitarian crises in which disarmament can play a significant role in ensuring a peaceful coexistence among Nations, as well as social cohesion within them; it will never tire working towards nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, banning antipersonnel mines and cluster munitions, as well as preventing the expansion and deployment of new weapons systems such as lethal autonomous weapons systems.
Finally, citing Pope Francis’ address to popular movements in Bolivia last July, he said, “The Holy See believes that the primary commitment and goal of the international community must be the prevention of conflicts, by investing in sustainable and integral development that leaves no one behind, no matter how small, so as to have no family without lodging, no rural worker without land, no labourer without rights, no people without sovereignty, no individual without dignity, no child without childhood, no young person without a future, no elderly person without a venerable old age.”
“Having articulated the immense challenge before us”, he concluded, “the Holy See remains committed to doing its part to save lives and spare future generations from the scourges of war.”