Pope Calls for Efforts Against Racism and Aggressive Nationalism

Makes Appeal as Durban Conference Draws to End

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 7, 2001 (Zenit.org).- As the World Conference Against Racism was ending amid heated debates, John Paul II appealed for the commitment of all countries in the struggle against racial discrimination and aggressive nationalism.



"One of the difficulties that has grown more acute in recent times, as a result, also, of the increasing mobility of peoples, is that of racial discrimination," the Pope said today, when he received the new Irish ambassador to the Vatican.

"The worrying resurgence of aggressive forms of nationalism and racism constitute serious threats to human dignity and undermine social coexistence, peace and harmony," the Holy Father stressed.

Meanwhile, in Durban, South Africa, the national delegations at the conference on racism were debating the adoption of a common text on issues such the Mideast conflict and the condemnation of slavery and colonialism as "crimes against humanity."

"The Church reproves as contrary to God´s will all discrimination or harassment of people due to race, color, condition of life, or religion," John Paul II emphasized.

"A culture of mutual openness and acceptance needs to be fostered; this calls for suitable educational initiatives and the legal protection of the fundamental rights of all," the Holy Father concluded.