Holy See: Military Funds Better Used Serving World

Archbishop Chullikatt Addresses UN on Disarmament and Security

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NEW YORK, New York, OCT. 12 (Zenit.org).- Money used for military endeavors could be used to help the world's poor and to promote authentic human development, affirms the Holy See.



Archbishop Francis Chullikatt made this point Monday when he addressed the First Committee of the U.N. General Assembly during general debate on disarmament and international security.

The archbishop noted that while 2010 "offers some hope" with regard to disarmament and arms control, it is "overshadowed by threats to security and peace."

"Policies promoting disarmament and arms control reflect an idea of order which the people of the world desire," he affirmed, and noted that they are "crucial for everyone’s destiny and they cannot be limited to one strategy alone."

"A renewed effort is required," he stated, calling for cooperation at all levels of government that includes "sound values, fresh logical thinking, and an integral political vision that understands the link between disarmament and the development of peoples."

Archbishop Chullikatt lamented that military expenditures were up 6% in 2009, and that from 2000 to 2009 they rose and "astonishing" 49%. He reflected that these figures go against what is stated in the United Nations Charter, which seeks to "ground security and peace not upon a balance of fear but upon the full respect for the rights and the fundamental liberties of individuals and peoples."

That same charter, he continued, also asks that resources destined to promote peace and security be minimal: "The substantial resources, both human and material, committed to military purposes not only distract from but impede the promotion of authentic human development, the struggle against poverty and the ending of the present international crisis."

The archbishop recalled Pope Paul VI's initiative made in Bombay in 1964 to direct money destined for military purposes to a World Fund that would fund development programs. "This is, unfortunately, a project still waiting to be realized," Archbishop Chullikatt noted. "Yet all it requires is states coming together in an expression of their good faith and thus contribute to international peace and security."

With regard to nuclear arms, the archbishop did note that nations seem to indicate "a wish to turn the page and go beyond the idea of deterrence as a pillar of international relations," but that it also appears "to be difficult to achieve real change in policy and actions."

"The strategic reductions in nuclear arsenals are important steps," he added, "but they are insufficient if they are not pursued within the context of a general and effective disarmament conducted in good faith and at the multilateral and international level."

Archbishop Chullikatt pointed to biological and chemical weapons as "sources of grave concern," noting that especially in the biological field there is "the absence of an international monitoring system for the security and safeguarding of laboratories and the guarantee of the peaceful civil use of biological technology that respects the rights of all humans."

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Full text: www.holyseemission.org/11Oct2010.html