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Vatican diplomat urges UN Human Rights Council to address religious-freedom violations

March 01, 2024

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CWN Editor's Note: Archbishop Ettore Balestrero, Permanent Observer to UN offices in Geneva (Switzerland), urged the UN Human Rights Council to address religious-freedom violations.

“Discrimination and persecution of believers are on the rise,” he stated on February 28. “Religious freedom is violated in almost one-third of the world’s countries, affecting around 4.9 billion people.”

“In some Western countries, religious discrimination and censorship are being perpetrated under the guise of ‘tolerance and inclusion,’” he continued. “Legislation originally aimed at combatting ‘hate speech’ is often instrumentalized to challenge the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, leading to censorship and ‘compelled speech.’”

Archbishop Balestrero also warned that “current attempts to introduce so-called ‘new rights’ are not always consistent with what is truly good for the human person. Such attempts lead to an ‘ideological colonization’ that undermines human dignity, creating divisions between cultures, societies, and States, rather than fostering unity and peace.”

“My delegation hopes that the session of the Human Rights Council will objectively identify and address the ongoing violations of fundamental human rights, determine their root causes, and take active measures to end these violations and the atrocities they often lead to,” the prelate concluded.

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