Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State
September 30, 2014
In a September 29 address at the United Nations General Assembly, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, said that the UN Security Council has the duty to intervene to stop aggression perpetrated against innocents by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Even though “the responsibility to protect” does not “favor” armed action, the “proportionate use of force” in this case is “urgent,” he said.
“Since there is no juridical norm which justifies unilateral policing actions beyond one’s own borders, there is no doubt that the area of competence lies with the Security Council,” he said.
“While the concept of ‘the responsibility to protect’ is implicit in the constitutional principles of the Charter of the United Nations and of humanitarian law, it does not specifically favor a recourse to arms,” he said. “It asserts, rather, the responsibility of the entire international community, in a spirit of solidarity, to confront heinous crimes such as genocide, ethnic cleansing and religiously motivated persecution.”
“Here with you today, I cannot fail to mention the many Christians and ethnic minorities who in recent months have endured atrocious persecution and suffering in Iraq and Syria,” he continued. “Their blood demands of us all an unwavering commitment to respect and promote the dignity of every single person as willed and created by God.”
My delegation wishes to recall that it is both licit and urgent to stop aggression through multilateral action and a proportionate use of force. As a representative body of a worldwide religious community embracing different nations, cultures and ethnicities, the Holy See earnestly hopes that the international community will assume responsibility in considering the best means to stop all aggression and avoid the perpetration of new and even graver injustices.
Cardinal Parolin also said that “there is a need to make legal provision for protecting people against other forms of aggression, which are less evident but just as serious and real. For example, a financial system governed only by speculation and the maximization of profits, or one in which individual persons are regarded as disposable items in a culture of waste, could be tantamount, in certain circumstances, to an offence against human dignity. It follows, therefore, that the UN and its member states have an urgent and grave responsibility for the poor and excluded, mindful always that social and economic justice is an essential condition for peace.”
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- Address of His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin Secretary of State of His Holiness Pope Francis at the 69th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations (Holy See Press Office)
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