Vatican envoy to UN calls for fresh appreciation of feminine values in society

 Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York, has called for action to protect the human rights of women around the world. He added that there was a great need for the world to appreciate more what he described as "authetic feminine values" in society. The Archbishop was speaking at the 51st session of the Commission on the Status of Women. The session is considering the follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women and to the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly entitled "'Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century:' Implementation of strategic objectives and action in the critical areas of concern and further actions and initiatives: The elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl child." The archbishop said in his speech: "Everyday, violations of the rights of women, adolescents, and young girls are committed and even tolerated in many fields. Women bear the brunt of the world's child prostitution, sexual exploitation, abuse, domestic violence, child labour and human trafficking." "The mistreatment of women is a longstanding reality in many places and a disregard for the age and vulnerability of young girls in particular is especially repugnant. ... This appears to be due to the inferior status bestowed upon women in certain places and upon female infants in particular. In some local traditions they are thought of as a financial burden and are thus eliminated even before birth. In this way, abortion, often considered a tool of liberation, is ironically employed by women against women. Even those allowed to live are sometimes considered as if they were a piece of property best disposed of as soon as possible. ... Even the institution of marriage is sometimes misused to give a safe facade to sexual exploitation and slave labor by means of what are known as 'mail order brides' and 'temporary brides'." "In order to put an end to the violation of human rights of trafficked women and girls, it is not enough to sensationalize their tragic plight; rather there is a need to trace the question back to the market that exists due to the demand which makes such trade possible and profitable. Thus, if the reason behind the violence visited on women and girls is mostly cultural prejudice, exploitation and profit, which body should be mandated to intervene in order to overcome this situation? "This is a clear question of human rights," Archbishop Migliore added, "Nor should we limit the complexities of trafficking to a few social laws or customs, the construction of a refuge here and there and the social reinsertion of the women in question. ... Raising awareness is a simple and effective means to combat this phenomenon at the local level. Rural villages where the search for employment impels girls to seek work elsewhere need to know as a community how to deal openly with the risks to their young people. Organizations with a proven track record already exist and could assist communities in this way. Local and national politicians also need to be brought to account for their policies in this regard. "The promotion of women will be achieved not only by the legitimate vindication of women's rights. With that, there must also be established a fresh appreciation of authentically feminine values in the heart of our societies." Source: VIS

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