On Monday at the United Nations in New York, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican’s secretary for Relations with States, took the floor to call the UN to a renovation of its founding principles. Above all, the archbishop emphasized that failures in human society can be attributed to "forgetting, or partially and selectively accepting," the principle of respect for human dignity.
At the beginning of his English-language talk, Archbishop Mamberti pointed out that "forgetting, or partially and selectively accepting," the principle of respect for human dignity "is what lies at the origin of conflicts, of environmental degradation and of social and economic injustices."
Recalling that the year 2008 marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Archbishop Mamberti said “[t]hese rights are not based on the mere will of human beings, nor in the reality of the State, nor in public powers, but rather are grounded in the objective requirements of the nature bestowed on man.”
"The most important part of our work in this context is to ensure that the inherent right to life is respected everywhere. This fundamental right must be protected from conception until natural death.”
"We must work to stop and reverse the culture of death embraced by some social and legal structures that try to make the suppression of life acceptable by disguising it as a medical or social service. In this sense, the abolition of the death penalty should also be seen as a consequence of full respect for the right to life," said Archbishop Mamberti.
The archbishop also explained that protecting human dignity can be accomplished through Inter-religious and Inter-cultural dialogue, which is in fact, the way to peace. “Indeed, dialogue among peoples of different cultures and religions is not an option; it is something indispensable for peace and for the renewal of international life."
The prelate also explained that this dialogue can only take place in the right conditions: “Many of the problems that today are attributed almost exclusively to cultural and religious differences have their origin in economic and social injustices. Freedom from want – illness, hunger, ignorance – is a necessary presupposition for a serene dialogue of civilizations.”
Referring to conflict prevention and to efforts aimed at achieving and maintaining peace, the secretary for Relations with States indicated that the Holy See looks forward "to the day that peacekeeping efforts in Darfur will finally be fully operational."
Furthermore, "there is need for a renewed commitment, involving all member countries, in the pacification and reconstruction of long-suffering Iraq," and "in the search for a solution, through dialogue, of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians."
"Renewed commitment is needed in assuring that Lebanon will continue to be a free and independent country," the archbishop added, while on the subject of Myanmar, he reiterated Benedict XVI's appeal of last Sunday: "Through dialogue, good will and a spirit of humanity, may a solution to the crisis be found quickly for the good of the country and a better future for all its inhabitants."