Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations, spoke yesterday before the 58th session of the General Assembly on Agenda Item 48: the 55th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He said: "this extraordinary development in the protection of fundamental human rights was based on the greatest traditions of the jus gentium- the Law of Nations - which is founded upon the objective moral order as discerned by right reason." He underscored that human rights "are not a creation of the State but flow from the character and nature of humanity itself. In identifying certain fundamental rights which are common to every member of the human family, the Declaration has decisively contributed to the development of international law. Moreover, it has resolutely challenged those human laws which have denied men and women the dignity to which they are entitled because of who they are. Sadly, the fundamental rights, proclaimed, codified and celebrated in the Universal Declaration are still the object of severe and constant violations." Archbishop Migliore noted that "challenges to the proper implementation of human rights" include "a tendency of some to choose self-serving rights. In some circumstances, what is inalienable to some human beings is simultaneously denied others. A case in point would be the denial of the most fundamental right-that is the right to life itself from which all other rights naturally and logically flow." There are also threats "from exaggerated individualism that often leads the stronger to lord it over the weak." "The world in which we live today," he said, "exists under the shadows of war, terrorism, and other threats to human survival and to the innate dignity of the human person. At the source of many of these shadows lies a denial of some of the universal rights. Ironically, it is human beings who cast these shadows. Yet, we have also been given wisdom to use the light of right reason to dispel them." In concluding remarks, the archbishop said "we still need to ask the question: what has happened to everyone's right 'to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized? (art. 28)'. The dignity, freedom and happiness acknowledged by the Declaration will not be fully realized without solidarity amongst all peoples. Inspired by the example of all those framers of this Declaration who have taken the risk of freedom, can we not recommit ourselves also to taking the risk of solidarity - and thus the risk of peace?" Source: VIS
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