.- Made public today was the text of a speech given on Monday, by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, to the 14th ministerial council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Mamberti addressed with the participants, the necessity of including a religious dimension in international conversations and of working against religious intolerance.
The meeting, which was held in Brussels, Belgium, was attended by foreign ministers of all States participants in the OSCE. With 56 participating States from Europe, Central Asia and North America, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) forms the largest regional security organization in the world.
In his address, Archbishop Mamberti expressed the hope that the meeting "would strengthen and implement the 'acquis' of the OSCE, refining the instruments at its disposal in order to attain its final goal: peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic zone through prosperous and safe societies that promote the dignity of human beings and recognize their fundamental religious dimension."
After highlighting how the Holy See is dedicating particular attention to the question of tolerance, Archbishop Mamberti asked: "How can religions authoritatively and effectively promote respect and understanding if they themselves are victims of stereotyping and prejudice?"
In this context, he recalled how in one area of the OSCE, in the last year, a Catholic priest has been murdered and various Christians have continued to be victims of violence and aggression.
Recalling the words of Benedict XVI on his recent apostolic trip to Turkey, which participates in the OSCE, Mamberti said, "recognition of the positive role of religions within the fabric of society can and must impel us to explore more deeply their knowledge of man and to respect his dignity."
"The Holy See hopes that such recognition and such respect may appear openly and honestly in the work of the OSCE and its institutions, as well as in the field of tolerance," the archbishop added.
Mamberti also expressed the gratitude of the Holy See for the OSCE’s newly drafted documents against human trafficking. He noted that the documents, “aim to intensify the struggle against human trafficking, with an approach that focuses on victims. The scourge of the sexual exploitation of children, often associated with human trafficking, calls for special action.”
“For her part,” the archbishop added, “the Catholic Church will not fail to arouse the world's conscience concerning the magnitude and seriousness of these scourges."
The OSCE is a primary instrument for early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation in its area. It has 19 missions or field operations in South-Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia.
The Organization deals with three dimensions of security - the politico-military, the economic and environmental, and the human dimension. It therefore addresses a wide range of security-related concerns, including arms control, confidence- and security-building measures, human rights, national minorities, democratization, policing strategies, counter-terrorism and economic and environmental activities. All 56 participating States enjoy equal status, and decisions are taken by consensus on a politically, but not legally binding basis.