.- The chief Vatican representative to the United Nations said that pushing population control methods on underdeveloped countries offends human dignity and ultimately proves ineffective in eradicating global poverty.
At a U.N. gathering on April 12, Vatican observer Archbishop Francis Chullikatt condemned international efforts intended to stifle population growth â such as birth control distribution or sterilization â in poor nations worldwide.
âThis distorted world-view regards the poor as a problem to be commoditized and managed as if they were inconsequential objects rather than as unique persons,â he said.
In his remarks to the Commission on Population and Development â which focused on the theme of âFertility, reproductive health and developmentâ â the archbishop called instead for global education and economic initiatives to help impoverished families ârealize their full potential.â
âUnfortunately many discussions in the present day continue to be led by a false notion that, in the context of population growth, the very act of giving life is something to be feared rather than affirmed,â he said.
âThis flawed understanding leads to the distorted view that population growth, especially among the poor, must be decreased in order to address poverty, illiteracy and malnutrition.â
Archbishop Chullikatt decried what he called the âconsistently disprovenâ theory that population increase will devastate the environment, lead to global competition and confrontation for resources, and undermine the ability of women to interact fully with society.
âThese apprehensions contribute to the advancement of forms of reproductive technology which denigrate the nature of human sexualityâ and have also led to governments adopting laws and policies which discourage parents âfrom exercising their fundamental right to have children free of coercion,â the Vatican observer said.
Archbishop Chullikatt said that instead of focusing on political and financial efforts to reduce the number of poor âthrough methods which trivialize marriage and the family and deny the very right to life of unborn children, let us instead focus these resources on providing the promised development assistance to the approximately 920 million people living on less than $1.25 per day.â
âLet us feed the nearly 1 billion people who are malnourished, and let us provide skilled birth attendants at every birth to reduce the incidents of maternal and child mortality.â
âLet us achieve our promise of providing primary education to the 69 million children who risk becoming another generation without such basic assistance,â he added. âThese children of today will be the citizens of tomorrow who have much to contribute to the welfare and common good of all.â
âIt is important that the international community continue to reflect on the relationship between population and development,â the archbishop said. âYet, in doing so, governments must always remember that people are an asset and not a liability.â
âThe more governments recognize this, the more they will be able to put in place programs and policies that truly advance the well-being of all persons, and thus contribute to the development of the entire human community.â