Holy See Calls for Shift in Understanding Rights

Says They Should Be at Core of Society

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NEW YORK, OCT. 29, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The recognition of human rights needs to be at the core of society, not a consequence of policy decisions, says the Holy See.



Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, affirmed this Tuesday before the 3rd Committee of the 63rd session of the U.N. General Assembly on the promotion and protection of human rights.

One of the areas in which a focus on human dignity and rights is needed is development, he said.

"The current global economic collapse highlights and will surely exacerbate the plight of the so-called 'bottom billion,' a figure which due to the present aggravating conjuncture is on a constant rise," Archbishop Migliore noted. "These persons will have their right to food impinged by the global food crisis. With the governmental spending focused upon fixing the financial meltdown, social sectors such as education and healthcare will be further downsized and underfinanced.

"While the economic crisis is presenting a number of challenges for the entire global community, as we begin to create measures to fix the economic collapse, we must not lose sight of those who live with little hope for a decent future."

Disabilities

Regarding another issue, Archbishop Migliore welcomed the entry into force of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, "inasmuch as it will enhance the dignity and rights of disabled people."

"It is my delegation's hope that as states accede to this instrument, the fundamental right to life which stands at the heart of this convention be respected and promoted for all people with disabilities at every stage of life," he said. "It is only then that this convention can serve not only to promote greater respect for persons with disabilities but more importantly, to foster greater respect for all people regardless of their physical or mental ability."

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted in December 2006. It enters into force with ratification from 20 countries.

Countries that ratified the convention need to report regularly on their progress to a committee that oversees implementation of the convention.

According to the U.N. convention description, it "marks a shift in thinking about disability from a social welfare concern, to a human rights issue, which acknowledges that societal barriers and prejudices are themselves disabling."

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