Archbishop Celestino Migliore, apostolic nuncio in the Holy See’s permanent observer mission to the United Nations, on Thursday addressed that body on the importance of defending the rights of children worldwide.
Praising the U.N. Convention of the Rights of the Child, he said the document reaffirms the family as the basic unit of society and the best environment in which children can develop. He said it is “in everyone’s interest to motivate parents to take personal responsibility in the education of their children and strengthen the family.”
Archbishop Migliore noted that the Catholic Church is a major world educator, running more than 250,000 schools across the globe with more than 3.5 million teachers educating 42 million students. Many of these schools are in impoverished areas where children would otherwise be left behind, such as remote villages, deprived inner cities, conflict zones, refugee camps, and even garbage dumps.
The archbishop also reiterated the commitment of the Church to protect children and their families from the impact of HIV/AIDS. He noted the thousands of institutions involved in caring for and educating orphans, awareness campaigns, and the distribution of anti-retroviral drugs, basic health care, and nutrition. Other programs are dedicated to fighting the social stigma against disease victims, preventing mother-to-child virus transmission, and helping disease victims to become involved in the fight against the epidemic.
At the same time, Archbishop Migliore said the fight against disease should also focus on more common killers such as malaria and tuberculosis.
Archbishop Migliore expressed hope that the policies renewed or implemented in the upcoming plenary U.N. session would not be “mere declarations of good intentions or objectives for which to aspire” but rather, steadfast commitments to make a world truly fit for children.