Because everyone has a right to life, liberty and personal security, nations must find nonviolent solutions to conflict and difficulties, Pope Francis said.
A culture of peace “calls for unremitting efforts in favor of disarmament and the reduction of recourse to the use of armed force in the handling of international affairs,” he said on Monday 8th January in his annual address to diplomats accredited to the Vatican.
Given the urgent need to favour dialogue and diplomacy in conflict resolution and to end the stockpiling of weapons, “I would therefore like to encourage a serene and wide-ranging debate on the subject, one that avoids polarising the international community on such a sensitive issue,” the pope said.
At the start of a new year, the pope dedicated his speech to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which will celebrate the 70th anniversary of its adoption by the UN General Assembly in December.
The declaration was an attempt to help the world’s nations base their relations on “truth, justice, willing cooperation and freedom” by upholding the fundamental rights of all human beings, he said. The very foundation of freedom, justice and world peace, he said, quoting the document, is built on recognising and respecting these rights.
However, in his nearly 50-minute speech to the diplomats, the pope cautioned that there has been a movement to create “new rights” that often not only conflict with each other, but can be at odds with the traditional values and cultures of many countries, while neglecting the real needs they have to face.
“Somewhat paradoxically, there is a risk that, in the very name of human rights, we will see the rise of modern forms of ideological colonisation by the stronger and the wealthier, to the detriment of the poorer and the most vulnerable,” he said.
Seven decades after the creation of the universal declaration, Pope Francis said, “it is painful to see how many fundamental rights continue to be violated today. First among all of these is the right of every human person to life, liberty and personal security.”
War, violence and abortion all infringe on these rights, he said.
Picture: Pope Francis addresses diplomats accredited to the Holy See during an annual meeting at the Vatican on Monday 8th January. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).