Vatican envoy warns UN General Assembly that racism is mutating and ‘reemerging’ around the world
UNITED NATIONS (OSV News) – The “distorted” thinking that one person is better than another goes against Catholic teachings and goes against the universal principles set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, said the envoy of the Holy See to the United Nations at a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
The theme of the March 21 meeting at UN Headquarters was the urgency of combating racism and racial discrimination 75 years after the adoption of this declaration by the UN General Assembly.
Citing the international statement, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia told the UN meeting that racism was based “on the distorted belief that one person is superior to another, which contrasts sharply with the fundamental principle that ‘all beings human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.'”
Despite the commitment of the international community to eradicate it, racism continues to “emerge”, warned Bishop Caccia, permanent observer of the Vatican to the UN.
“It’s as if it were a ‘virus that rapidly mutates and, instead of disappearing, hides and hides in wait,'” the archbishop told the UN meeting , this time quoting Pope Francis’ 2020 encyclical, “Fratelli Tutti.”
He called on governments around the world to pass legislation that tackles “overt racism” and promote “a culture of encounter, solidarity and genuine human brotherhood” to “effectively” counter what he called prejudice. existing at an even “deeper… rooted” level. in all aspects of society.
Then, referring to the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, the 2004 work requested by Saint John Paul II to consolidate and organize the social doctrine of the Church, Bishop Caccia told the General Assembly of the United Nations “Only the recognition of human dignity can make possible the common and personal growth of each and of each society.
“Stimulating this kind of growth includes ensuring conditions of equal opportunity for men and women, and guaranteeing objective equality among all human beings,” he said.
The Archbishop concluded his remarks by expressing the concern of the Holy See over the racism and racial prejudice sometimes directed against migrants and refugees.
For her part, US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, noted that although the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declared that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, the United States had “not always honored this commitment. ”
“We have a long history of racial discrimination… no one denies that. And I was discriminated against myself,” said Thomas-Greenfield, who is one of only two black women to have served as US ambassador to the UN.
“And yet I am proud, I am so proud of my country and the progress we have made, and continue to make today, to address these issues,” she told the General Assembly.
New York Mayor Eric Adams, a guest speaker at the UN meeting, also recounted facing racism and what his city was doing about it.
“As New York’s second black mayor, I know what it’s like to be rejected and I understand the pain of so many who face daily barriers to opportunity,” Adams said in his speech.
Discrimination, he said, “knows no borders”.
“We see it in education, we see it in health care, we see it in climate change,” Adams said. “We see it in access to clean water and healthy food.”
New York City was “leading the way” in addressing this racial discrimination, Adams said, through investments in community organizations aimed at embracing diversity and addressing bias, and by closing the knowledge gaps. opportunities through more jobs, skills training and affordable housing.
“We are progressing, but we have to keep climbing…as a city, as a nation and as an international community,” he said.
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