NEW YORK, JUNE 22, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See is calling for greater international cooperation in fighting organized crime, especially human trafficking and the drug trade, by addressing the demand for these illegal services.
Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See at the United Nations, made this appeal Monday at the high-level meeting on transnational organized crime during the 64th session of the U.N. General Assembly.
He acknowledged that “one result of an interconnected world is the ever-growing interconnected nature of crime.”
“This dynamic in the globalized nature of crime presents new challenges to legal and judicial mechanisms as they attempt to hold criminals accountable and protect their citizens,” the prelate affirmed.
He added that “as crime becomes international, the response also must become international.”
In particular, the archbishop addressed the growing scourge of human trafficking, specifically the sexual exploitation of women, and the drug trade.
“If we wish to engage in a sustained process to stop and reverse these two major areas of international crime, peoples and cultures will have to find common ground that can underpin human relations everywhere on the basis of our shared humanity,” he said.
Archbishop Migliore affirmed that “there remains a profound need to uphold the inherent dignity and worth of every human being, with special attention to the most vulnerable of society.”
“Today, millions of people are victims of trafficking, of which, over 70%, almost all women and girls, are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation,” he stated.
“This reality is both tragic and inexcusable,” Archbishop Migliore asserted.
“In fact, rather than effectively addressing the demand, more and more laws are passed which seek to legitimize this dehumanizing work,” he said.
The prelate proposed, “We should focus our efforts on addressing and even criminalizing the devastating demand for prostitution, which dehumanizes women and girls and fuels illegal trafficking around the world.”
He continued: “Likewise, a people-centered approach to the international drug trade must recognize that the consumers of this illegal activity must be held accountable and also provided rehabilitation.
“Criminal accountability is only one factor in addressing this problem as personal, social and spiritual rehabilitation is necessary for drug abusers and the communities devastated by the producing and smuggling of drugs.”
“Also,” the archbishop added, “efforts by governments and civil society to restore the health of individuals and communities must continue to be encouraged since all people have a claim to social and economic development.”
He noted that “this debate helps to shed light on the need to address international crime in a way which recognizes the growing international nature of crime but also allows this assembly to recognize that this response requires national efforts to address the individual and societal causes for such activity.”
Archbishop Migliore concluded, “While it is imperative to hold accountable for their actions criminals who disrupt the common good, so too is it necessary to recognize the rights and dignity of victims and offenders in order to remedy the harm caused by crime.”
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