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Vatican representative calls for reform of UN

September 30, 2009

The Vatican's representative at UN headquarters in New York pressed the argument for reform of the international body in a speech to the General Assembly. Archbishop Celestino Migliore said that a revitalized UN should be "capable of responding to the obstacles and increasing complexity of relations between peoples and nations."

Although he did not spell out the reforms that would be necessary, Archbishop Migliore suggested that the conduct of the UN should be more clearly in line with the organization's founding charter. He argued: "The United Nations will advance toward the formation of a true family of nations to the extent that it assumes the truth of the inevitable interdependence among peoples, and to the extent that it takes up the truth about the human person, in accordance with its Charter." The archbishop went on to say that international development efforts should respect the both the needs of the recipient nations and their fundamental dignity. In that context the Vatican's permanent observer at the UN was critical of foreign-aid program that stress aggressive family-planning ventures. "Unfortunately," he said, "in some parts of the world today, development aid seems to be tied rather to the recipient countries' willingness to adopt programs which discourage demographic growth of certain populations by methods and practices disrespectful of human dignity and rights." Such efforts are unworthy of the UN, he said, because their approach is "not one of reciprocity but imposition, and to predicate the decision to give development aid on the acceptance of such policies constitutes an abuse of power."

Archbishop Migliore reiterated another observation that has been frequently made by Vatican officials: that justice in a global economy requires "the equity of the international commercial system and world financial architecture." He urged efforts to make credit and capital available to developing nations, and provide the world's poor with access to education and the means of communication.


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