Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva, addressed the XXIII Ordinary Session of the Human Rights Council on Access to Medicines. The address, which was pronounced on May 27th, was made available today by the Holy See.
Archbishop Tomasi opened his address by pointing out several “key elements” that required attention in the initial report on Access to Medicines. Regarding accessibility, the archbishop stated that a “comprehensive analysis” was necessary to examine the social and political realities that exist and deprive access to medical and physical needs to millions of people.
The Holy See Delegation, he said, “found that the Report paid insufficient attention to basic needs of individuals and families, at all stages of the life cycle from conception to natural death.”
“Such challenges often block access to medicines as much as, if not more than, the various legal factors that occupied the main focus of the Report. Effective reversal of such obstacles requires an integral human development approach that promotes just legal frameworks as well as international solidarity, not only among States, but also among and between all peoples.”
Archbishop Tomasi called on the representatives present to “establish true distributive justice” that guarantees adequate care for all.”
The Permanent Observer to the Holy See, while acknowledging the report’s assessment that government obligation for access to medicine is a clear prerequisite, noted that no acknowledgment of health care work made by non-governmental and spiritual organizations were mentioned in the report.
“From its contacts down to the grass-root level with 5,305 hospitals and 18,179 clinics inspired and organized under Catholic Church auspices throughout the world, the Holy See is well aware that these institutions serve the poorest sectors of society, many of whom live in rural and isolated areas or in conflict zones, where governmental health systems often do not reach,” Archbishop Tomasi said.
Archbishop Tomasi concluded his address by calling on the UN to conduct a coprehensive analysis on facilitating access to medicines, “rather than a more restricted analysis of legal, economic, and political frameworks.”