Racism can be defeated, says Vatican archbishop

Racism can be defeated, says Vatican archbishop


During the seventh session of the Human Rights Council, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the Office of the United Nations in Geneva, told the advisory committee that racism and discrimination can be overcome via “concerted practical measures” such as education.

At the session, which lasted from March 3-28, Archbishop Tomasi affirmed that while we all have rights, "to each right corresponds a duty. In this interaction of rights and duties and in the pursuit of the common good, communities are formed and protected."

This is why, he added, "the task then is to provide an enabling environment where the person can flourish without undue discrimination. Religious freedom, in many ways, is a symbol of this type of environment that sustains both individual persons and the community."

While speaking to the council the following day, the archbishop pointed out the importance of ensuring that all persons share human rights.  “The question of pluralism in contemporary societies and the fight against racism can find a solution in an environment where the persons enjoy all human rights, civil and political as well as social, cultural and economic."

The modern notion of tolerance alone will not suffice in the fight against racism, he continued.  “Everyone should acknowledge both the difference and the equality with the other person to find solutions to the practical problems of living together."

Archbishop Tomasi assured the council that the battle against racism and intolerance can be won through “concerted practical measures” such as education.  “Education that favors mutual knowledge, that builds confidence and sustains the implementation of human rights, can serve as a critical vehicle for effective dialogue.”