by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Speaking on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Dec. 10, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, warned about creating “new” human rights based on self-serving ideologies rather than on nature and the common good.
Archbishop Tomasi affirmed that “when a breach is caused between what is claimed and what is real through the search of so-called ‘new’ human rights, a risk emerges to reinterpret the accepted human rights vocabulary to promote mere desires and measures that, in turn, become a source of discrimination and injustice and the fruit of self-serving ideologies.”
“By speaking of the right to life, of respect for the family, of marriage as the union between a man and a woman, of freedom of religion and conscience, of the limits of the authority of the State before fundamental values and rights, nothing new or revolutionary is said and both, the letter and the spirit of the Declaration are upheld, and coherence with the nature of things and the common good of society is preserved”.
After noting how the anniversary of the Declaration “leads us also to reflect on its implementation,” Archbishop Tomasi said that “in a world of too many hungry people, too many violent conflicts, too many persons persecuted for their beliefs, there remains a long road to walk and the duty to eliminate every discrimination so that all persons can enjoy their inherent equal dignity”.
Archbishop Tomasi encouraged the UN and its specialized agencies “to faithfully translate the principles of the Declaration into action by supporting States in the adoption of effective policies truly focused on the rights and sense of responsibility of everyone.”
He concluded: “Every human being has the right to an integral development and ‘the sacred right’ to live in peace. On such premises, human rights are not just entitlement to privileges. They are rather the expression and the fruit of what is noblest in the human spirit: dignity, aspiration to freedom and justice, search for what is good, and the practice of solidarity.”
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