Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Benedict XVI’s appeal that “[t]hrough dialogue, good will and a spirit of humanity, [. . .] a solution to the crisis [may] be found quickly for the good of the country and a better future for all its inhabitants” was repeated yesterday at the 62nd General Assembly of the United Nations in New York. The crisis in the Asian country which “concerns [. . .] this Assembly and [. . .] the whole international community” was one of the issues raised by Mgr Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States in the Secretariat of State, during his intervention at the UN Headquarters.
In his long address, Mgr Mamberti touched upon the Iraq tragedy, the difficult Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the situation in Lebanon as well as the need to respect religious freedom, work for peace, help developing countries and fight for women’s rights.
“We look forward to the day that peacekeeping efforts in Darfur will finally be fully operational,” said the envoy of the Holy See. Similarly, “[t]here is need for a renewed commitment, involving all Member Countries, in the pacification and reconstruction of long-suffering Iraq.” Equally, there is an obligation “for renewed commitment in the search for a solution, through dialogue, [. . . to] the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians,” one that recognises “the legitimate expectations of each side.”
“Renewed commitment is needed in assuring that Lebanon will continue to be a free and independent country, a democratic, multicultural and multi-confessional society, equitable and respectful of all people and of the various tendencies present in its midst, like a common home open to others. This,” he stressed, “is particularly necessary in the present crucial period leading to the election of the new Head of State.”
For Mgr Mamberti, freedom of religion “continues to be disregarded and even violated” and “has become a pretext for various other forms of discrimination.” He insisted that “dialogue among peoples of different cultures and religions is not an option; it is something indispensable for peace and for the renewal of international life.”
“If,” he added, “religious leaders and believers expect States and societies to respect them and acknowledge their religions to be truly instruments of peace, they themselves must respect religious freedom; they must show that they are pledged to promote peace and shun violence; they must demonstrate that religion is not and must not become a pretext for conflict; and they must declare without ambiguity that to promote violence or to wage war in the name of religion is a blatant contradiction.”
Last but not least the Vatican representative spoke about two other important issues.
Firstly, the “Holy See is concerned regarding the inability of rich countries to offer the poorest countries, especially those in Africa, financial and trade conditions capable of promoting their sustainable development.”
Secondly, even if the “legitimate quest for equality between men and women has achieved positive results [. . .] inequalities in the exercise of basic human rights unfortunately still persist in many places. This leads to a breakdown in the social fabric and results in women’s objectification and exploitation.”