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Holy See: Catholic institutions promote peace between countries

2016-02-24 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) The Holy See delegation pointed out the role Catholic institutions play in post-conflict peacebuilding around the world in an address to the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday.

“The Holy See, as  a subject of International Law, has always been a promoter of peace between countries,  actively participating in the work of the UN, while the local Catholic churches have always been a factor  of  reconciliation  at  the  national  level,” said Monsignor Simon Kassas, the Chargé d’Affaires of the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York.

“Churches, as well as many faith-based organizations and development NGOs, have always been at the vanguard of pacification and reconstruction of regions and  countries struck by wars and conflicts,” the Vatican diplomat continued.

The delegation from Venezuela had sponsored an Open Debate in the UN Security Council on Post-conflict Peacebuilding: Review of the Peacebuilding Architecture.

“The actions of the Holy See, and of Catholic institutions worldwide, are fully consistent with the pleas of this Chamber, and other United Nations fora, to limit the use  of arms and implement strategies of dialogue and negotiation to bridge the way to peaceful co-existence, in diversity, and to use the world’s industrial might and technological prowess to bring about the peacebuilding aspirations of all,” Msgr. Kassas said.

 

The full text of Msgr. Kassas’ remarks are below

 

Intervention of Monsignor Simon Kassas

Chargé d’Affaires a.i.

Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations

during the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on

Post-conflict Peacebuilding: Review of the Peacebuilding Architecture

New York, 23 February 2016

Mr, President,

My delegation wishes to thank  the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for convening this Open Debate on  “Post-Conflict Peacebuilding: Review of the Peacebuilding Architecture.”

Eleven years ago, drawing on the experience of the first 50 years of the United Nations, the  High-level  Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change identified “a key institutional gap: there was no place in the  United  Nations  system  explicitly  designed  to  avoid  State  collapse  and  the  slide  to  war  or  to  assist  countries in their transition from war to peace” (Report, paragraph 261). Consequently, following the  2005 World Summit Outcome document, the General Assembly and the Security Council created the Peacebuilding  Commission  (PBC),  as  a  subsidiary  body  of  both  UN  organs.  Afterwards  the  Peacebuilding  Fund  (PBF)  was  put  in  place  and  a  Peacebuilding  Support  Office  (PBSO)  was  also  created.

The PBC and the PBSO should be praised for the work accomplished in many countries [-Burundi, Sierra  Leone,  Guinea,  Guinea-Bissau,  Liberia  and  the  Central  African  Republic-],  while  the  PBF  deserves a generous and constant financial support from the UN members.

However,  the  conclusions  of  the  Secretary  General’s  Advisory  Group  on  the  Review  of  the Peacebuilding Architecture  show the complexity and difficulty of peacebuilding efforts. The ability of  the  PBC  to  engage  with  the  host  government,  as  well  as  civil  society  and  the  most  important  stakeholders on the ground, in the conduct and implementation of  coordinated actions remains crucial.

In addition, there are several factors largely dependent on  the Security Council’s,  and other UN bodies’, substantive  and  coordinated  engagement  on  each  situation.  Furthermore,  the  ultimate  success  of  peacebuilding relies on the attention given to the PBC by the whole International Community.

Appropriately,  the  Addis  Ababa  Action  Agenda  and  the  2030  Agenda  for  Sustainable  Development  address the special need of financial, trade and development assistance for countries in post-conflict  situation.  Goal  16  of  the  same  2030  Agenda  is  devoted  to  the  promotion  of  peaceful  and  inclusive  societies, and all its targets are relevant for situations of post-conflict. However, in his address to the  70 Th session of the General Assembly, Pope Francis that “…solemn commitments… are not enough, even  though they are a necessary step toward solutions. …Our world demands of all government leaders  a  will  which  is  effective,  practical  and  constant,  concrete  steps  and  immediate  measures…”  not  forgetting “that, above and beyond our plans and programs, we are dealing with real men and women  who live, struggle and suffer, and are often forced to live in great poverty, deprived of all rights”  (Address of His Holiness Pope Francis to United Nations Organization, 25 September 2015).

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda recognizes “the importance for achieving sustainable development of  delivering quality education to all girls and boys” including “migrant and refugee children, and those  in  conflict  and  post-conflict  situations,  and  providing  safe,  non-violent,  inclusive  and  effective  learning environments for all” (N. 78). The same Agenda stresses that “Capacity development will be  integral to achieving the post-2015 development agenda”.  It calls  “for enhanced international support  and  establishment  of  multi-stakeholder  partnerships  for  implementing  effective  and  targeted  capacity  building”,  especially  “in  countries  in  conflict  and  post-conflict  situations”  (N.  115).  In  his  speech to the General Assembly Pope Francis noted that integral human development “presupposes  and requires the right to education –  also for girls (excluded in certain places) –  which is ensured first  and foremost by respecting and reinforcing the primary right of families to educate their children, as  well as the right of churches and social groups to support and assist families in the education of their  children. Education conceived in this way is the basis for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda”.

Mr. President,

The Holy See, as  a subject of International Law, has always been a promoter of peace between countries,  actively participating in the work of the UN, while the local Catholic churches have always been a factor  of  reconciliation  at  the  national  level.  Churches,  as  well  as  many  faith-based  organizations  and  development NGOs,  have always been at the vanguard of pacification and reconstruction of regions and  countries struck by wars and conflicts.

Moreover, the  almost 100,000 elementary and secondary schools as well as colleges and universities  throughout the world, that are run by Catholic organizations, are an essential contribution to building  and maintaining peace.  The Catholic healthcare network encompasses more than 25,000 hospitals,  dispensaries, clinics, homes for the elderly, the chronically ill or disabled, orphanages and childcare  centers.  All  are  a  part  of  maintaining  locally  stable  and  secure  environments  essential  for  the  comprehensive approach to peacebuilding as recommended in the 2015 Review of the United Nations  Peacebuilding Architecture.

The actions of the Holy See, and of Catholic institutions  worldwide, are fully consistent with the pleas  of this Chamber, and other United Nations fora, to limit the use  of arms and implement strategies of  dialogue and negotiation to bridge the way to peaceful co-existence, in diversity, and to use the world’s  industrial might and technological prowess to bring about the peacebuilding aspirations of all.

Mr. President,

In  his  recent  visit  to  Mexico,  Pope  Francis  addressed  the  civil  authorities  and  diplomatic  corps  (13  February 2016) and discussed the building blocks of peace. He said: “Leaders of social, cultural and  political life have the particular duty to offer all citizens the opportunity to be worthy contributors of  their own future, within their families and in all areas were human social interaction takes place. In  this  way,  they  help  citizens  to  have  real  access  to  the  material  and  spiritual  goods,  which  are  indispensable:  adequate  housing,  dignified  employment,  food,  true  justice,  effective  security,  a  healthy and peaceful environment.” It seems to my delegation that these words of Pope Francis are of the very essence of the architecture  of peacebuilding, which we are discussing here today.

Thank you, Mr. President.

(from Vatican Radio)