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Vatican envoy tells UN: human rights are not created by states

July 14, 2016

Speaking at a UN meeting on human rights, the Vatican’s representative reminded the assembly that human rights take precedence over the authority of states and national governments.

Archbishop Bernardito Auza also warned that when new “human rights” are claimed “to suit the passing tastes of the age,” the ultimate result is to discredit the very notion of human rights.

A human right, said Archbishop Bernardito Auza, “is intrinsic to every human being, and being antecedent to the demands of the State, ought to be always recognized and protected by the State.” Genuine human rights, he said, “are inalienable and must be universally respected and advanced.”

The archbishop observed that the UN discussion of human rights came at a time when violations of those rights are sadly commonplace:

This debate comes at a particularly tumultuous time in which human dignity and rights are being denied, suppressed and violated in various ways across the globe: civilians are being targeted in war and armed conflict; persons are being trafficked for slave labor, sex, or organs; ethnic and religious minorities are being singled out for persecution and annihilation; human beings deemed unwanted or useless are being discarded in what Pope Francis has termed the “throwaway culture”; hundreds of millions of peoples risk their lives to flee from persecution and extreme poverty; countless individuals are victims of various forms of discrimination.


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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Jul. 14, 2016 9:12 PM ET USA

    It appears that the Vatican has the right man for the job this time. A very forceful statement by Archbishop Auza. Nothing but the facts. Much appreciated.