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Holy See
H. E. Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Chairperson of the Delegation

29 September 2008

Statement Summary

CELESTINO MIGLIORE, Permanent Observer for the Holy See, said the United Nations did not create events or trends, but was rather a sounding board where events and trends were submitted for debate and a coherent, consensual and timely response.  The crises of the current year presented a mixture of natural factors and elements of human responsibility.  However, the crises had frequently been compounded by tardy responses and a failure or reluctance by leaders to protect their populations.  The responsibility to protect was the responsibility of the international community to intervene in situations where individual Governments were unwilling to assure the protection of their own citizens.

During the past year, there had been a growing consensus that the responsibility to protect was a component of responsible leadership, he said.  That principle was being distorted to promote military interventions.  The use of violence to resolve disagreements was always a failure of vision and of humanity.  The responsibility to protect should be viewed as the need for the international community to come together in the face of crisis to find the means for fair and open negotiations, support the moral force of law and seek the common good.  Failure to collectively protect populations at risk and prevent arbitrary military interventions undermined the authority of the United Nations.

He said that, while many continued to debate the causes and further consequences of the financial, humanitarian and food crises around the world, it was the responsibility of the United Nations to provide direction, coherence and resolution.  The ability of the human community to provide food and security, and to protect basic human rights was at stake.  As for climate change, it was clear that not all that was possible should be legal, including deforestation.  When speaking of humans, however, there was an inconsistency.  It seemed that all that was technically possible should be pursued, ranging from the production of biological weapons to restructuring the family.  The global community must come together to reverse that contradiction.

[Source: GA/10758]

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