The Holy See is affirming the right to freedom to expression, while at the same time reminding that all human rights come with “corresponding responsibilities and duties.”
This was one of the variety of topics touched on Thursday by the Holy See’s permanent representative at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Monsignor Janusz Urbanczyk.
He also spoke about tolerance and non-discrimination, particularly regarding religious tolerance. He further addressed the rights of women.
Here is the statement, which was given at the 1089th Meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council, regarding presentations by the chairpersons of the Security Committee, the Economic and Environmental Committee, and the Human Dimension Committee.
The statement is provided by Vatican Radio
The Holy See congratulates Ambassadors Cristian Istrate, Andreas Papadakis and Katja Pehrman on their appointment as the Chairs of the three Committees of the Permanent Council and thanks them for outlining the course of our work this year. I wish to assure my colleagues of the support of the Holy See’s Delegation which, in accordance with its specific nature, will seek to contribute constructively to the work of the three Committees.
In terms of the non-military aspects of security dealt with by the Security Committee, the Holy See values the efforts of the OSCE in strengthening co -ordination and coherence in addressing transnational threats, including the fight against terrorism, youth radicalization, cross-border drug trading and in furthering measures in the area of cyber security, including through the development of CBMs. Likewise, we support the efforts to address the scourge of trafficking in human beings and its links to migration, as well as its wide security-related challenges. All these issues have inherent value as a contribution to the protection of the rights of human beings.
The Holy See also appreciates the choice of environmental concerns, climate, labour migration, water governance and disaster risk reduction as the major topics of the Economic and Environmental Committee, also because these issues are closely connected and interrelated. Therefore, we are pleased to see that the topic for this year’s OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum is “Strengthening stability and security through co-operation on good governance.” All these topics are ultimately very important to sustainable development, security and human rights in the OSCE area.
Moreover, my Delegation would like to see further attention given to the question of the responsible use of resources and their distribution, and to combatting their uncontrolled use in a headlong race for profit. We hope that this work will contribute towards putting an end, as quickly as possible, to social and economic exclusions in the OSCE region. Regarding the Human Dimension Committee, my Delegation expresses its readiness to offer its contribution in pursuing common goals and in fulfilling the consensually-agreed commitments of the Organization. We should not try to deal with everything, as such an approach would most likely end in achieving little or even nothing.
Moreover, my Delegation is confident that the Human Dimension Committee will remain the principal forum where the meetings on human dimension are prepared, and will ensure that their agenda reflects the agreed views of all the participating States. In this context, my Delegation commends the initiatives planned in the field of freedom of expression and of the media, and in considering how to ensure access to independent information in times of crisis. As with all human rights, the freedom of expression is a right with corresponding responsibilities and duties. In this respect, it is important to underline that every person, especially if she or he is a media professional, should exercise responsibly her/his freedom of expression.
A focus on Education Rights of National Minorities and on the participation of Roma and Sinti in public life is also welcomed by my Delegation. Such emphasis will hopefully further the full inclusion of those groups into the life of societies and be a logical follow-up to a previous event and commitments. We are very glad that tolerance and non-discrimination are among the priorities of the third dimension. In this perspective, we agree that there is a need to enhance discussion about ways of combating discrimination, racism, xenophobia and intolerance – especially in light of the current migration crisis. There is a need to deal with policies and strategies in order to address root causes of intolerance and discrimination, according to the commitments of participating States.
With specific regard to religious intolerance, my Delegation considers that all forms of religious intolerance and discrimination need to be carefully identified and addressed, avoiding any improper selectivity or hierarchical partiality. In this context, the promotion of the OSCE commitments on working to stop intolerance and discrimination based on religious grounds remain a priority and the Holy See eagerly awaits the appointment of the remaining two CiO PRs on Intolerance and Discrimination, and their active participation in both the PC and the HDC.
We commend the Chairmanship’s focus on ending discrimination against women. The Holy See firmly believes that any ideology or social policy, any culture that subjugates women, that relegates them to second class, or “less than human”, is in no way tolerable. Therefore, my Delegation continues to support those commitments based on, and aimed at, a true and authentic equality between women and men, which still needs to be carefully implemented.
Finally, we are confident that the outcome of the Human Dimension Committee meetings will help us to better understand the requirements and the challenges of the implementation of the human dimension commitments as well as to prepare, in a proper way, the relevant decisions for the next Ministerial Council.
In conclusion, Mister Chairman, my Delegation renews its best wishes and support to the three Committee Chairs, as well as its readiness to contribute constructively to the work of the Committees this year.
Thank you, Mister Chairman!