Vatican calls on U.N. to strengthen policies promoting dignity of women
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.- Speaking to a United Nations Commission on the economic and social status of women, a Holy See delegation led by Marilyn Ann Martone, adamantly called for new policies protecting women worldwide from the violence, human trafficking and exploitation which plague them in many regions.

The group addressed the 50th session of the Commission on the Status of Women of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC), which is meeting to consider themes arising from the Fourth World Conference on Women and from the 23rd special session of the General Assembly.

That session was entitled, "Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century."

It’s purpose was to prepare recommendations and reports to the ECOSOC on promoting the social, ethical and economic rights of women.

The Vatican delegation told the U.N. that the Commission should endorse "policies…that restore balance and fairness to social and political structures in such a way that their very success persuades all people to work towards the true advancement of women."

Likewise, the group praised the U.N.’s recently-completed “Year of Microcredit” which was particularly aimed at helping female entrepreneurs in developing countries. They pointed out that this phenomenon "has had the support of local Catholic Churches for many years."

Switching gears, the delegation highlighted the increased worldwide scourge of human trafficking which "has a particularly negative impact on women."

They also addressed the problem which often arises in armed conflicts, in which “women and girls are also victims of systematic rape for political purposes."

The Vatican representatives sternly condemned "the sexual violence that frequently has women and girls for its object," and encouraged "the passing of laws that will effectively defend them from such violence."

They also spoke out on "the widespread culture which encourages the systematic exploitation of sexuality and corrupts even very young girls into letting their bodies be used for profit in a world-wide three billion dollar industry."

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