Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations Office in Geneva said that the doors to humanitarian aid in hot zones around the world must remain open in spite of conflict.
Speaking during the 28th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent held recently in Geneva (Switzerland,) the nuncio noted that this conference “takes place at a moment marked by rumbles of war and by an explosion of terrorism of such a magnitude unknown before today.”
“Civilian victims of well-reported and of forgotten wars and of their destructive consequences run in the millions. In fact, some States and non–State actors try to exploit the desperation of endemic poverty and of extreme social inequality by promoting their private objectives through violent actions,” he added.
On the question of humanitarian law, Archbishop Tomasi said that “some governments are reticent in accepting effective control mechanisms while public opinion seems to have become accustomed to violations of humanitarian law as if the painful spectacle of so many victims were leading to resignation instead of prompting a reaction capable of influencing wrong political and military choices.”
He stressed that “the Holy See looks at international humanitarian law as an important, invaluable, non-negotiable and still relevant instrument” and “will continue to promote appropriate initiatives of inter-religious character to defend human dignity during armed conflicts and to increase respect for international humanitarian law, especially through the vast network of Catholic education institutions.”
The archbishop pointed out that “a sadly eloquent sign among others of disregard towards humanitarian law is given by the attacks purposely directed against humanitarian personnel who generously serve in the midst of conflicts, in particular by the recent deadly attacks against the International Committee of the Red Cross.”
He concluded by affirming that “the Movement of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent can count on the partnership and support of the Catholic Church. Collaboration with religious institutions and faith communities will make for a more effective humanitarian action.”