Speaking yesterday to the United Nations’ 51st session of the Commission on the Status of Women, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the U.N. noted the tremendous strides which must still be made in stomping out human trafficking and new forms of “slavery” directed at women. The archbishop also decried the gross undervaluing of women in many parts of the world and the resulting use of abortion to destroy girl babies.
Archbishop Migliore pointed out the tremendous progress made in favor of women’s rights over the years and offered the Holy See’s hope for continuing advances in the future, but pointed out the incongruities between the progress that’s been made and the “new forms of violence and slavery directed especially at women.”
“Every day,” he lamented, “violations of the rights of women, adolescents, and young girls are committed and even tolerated in many fields. Women bear the brunt of the world’s child prostitution, sexual exploitation, abuse, domestic violence, child labor and human trafficking.”
Migliore acknowledged those organizations which have worked, along with the Vatican, for an end to human trafficking and similar abuses. The archbishop also renewed the Holy See’s call for an increased awareness of and reaction to the problem, based on a more profound understanding of the dignity of women.
“If we wish to engage in a sustained process to stop and reverse this phenomenon,” the archbishop said, “peoples and cultures will have to find common ground that can safely underpin human relations everywhere due to our shared humanity. There is still a profound need to strive to uphold the inherent dignity and worth of every human being, with special attention to the most vulnerable of society, our children and all the girls among them.”
For a concrete change, however, the archbishop emphasized a need to look at the root cause of discrimination against women, which “appears to be due to the inferior status bestowed upon women in certain places and upon female infants in particular. In some local traditions they are thought of as a financial burden and are thus eliminated even before birth.”
“In this way, abortion, often considered a tool of liberation, is ironically employed by women against women. Even those allowed to live are sometimes considered as if they were a piece of property best disposed of as soon as possible.”
“In order to put an end to the violation of human rights of trafficked women and girls, it is not enough to sensationalize their tragic plight; rather there is a need to trace the question back to the market that exists due to the demand which makes such trade possible and profitable.”
“The promotion of women will be achieved not only by the legitimate vindication of women’s rights,” Archbishop Migliore concluded. “With that there must also be established a fresh appreciation of authentically feminine values in the heart of our societies.”