09/30/2008, 00.00
VATICAN – UNITED NATIONS

Holy See: protecting civilians is an international obligation

In his addressed to the General Assembly of the United Nations, Mgr Migliore said that the language of “protection” should not be used to justify aggression against states. It must instead help “to come together in the face of crises to find means for fair and open negotiations, support the moral force of law and search for the common good.”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The notion of the responsibility to protect civilians is increasingly shared by the international community but it can be used to justify unacceptable aggression in various forms against other states. Protecting civilians is a duty that the United Nations must assume and the international community must intervene where “individual governments are not able or willing to assure the protection of their own citizens.” One area for example where it can intervene is the protection of AIDS orphans who are often treated like slaves.

The right to humanitarian intervention was a the heart of a speech delivered yesterday by Mgr  Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, during the debate of the 63rd General Assembly of the world body. The text of his address was released in Vatican City today.

In the past, said the Vatican diplomat, “the language of ‘protection’ was too often a pretext for expansion and aggression.” It is something that “tragically continues today” and the United Nations is duty-bound to prevent it if it wants to remain credible.

Monsignor Migliore noted that during his speech to the United Nations last 18 April, Benedict XVI insisted that “the responsibility to protect has served and must continue to serve as the principle shared by all nations to govern their populations and regulate relations between peoples. These statements highlight the historical and moral basis for States to govern.

However, “[t]he responsibility to protect should not be viewed merely in terms of military intervention but primarily as the need for the international community to come together in the face of crises to find means for fair and open negotiations, support the moral force of law and search for the common good.

Lastly “[a]t stake is not only the credibility of this Organization and global leaders but, more importantly, the ability of the human community to provide food and security and to protect basic human rights so that all peoples have the opportunity to live with freedom from fear and want and thus realize their inherent dignity.

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