Vatican tells UN: 'anti-terrorism measures must not jeopardise human rights'

 Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York, yesterday addressed the sixth committee of the 61st UN General Assembly, which is discussing measures to eliminate international terrorism. The Archbishop said: "Terrorism has developed into a sophisticated network of political, economic and technical collusion which crosses national borders to embrace the whole world." This illustrates, he continued, "the importance of an internationally binding Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism." "It is fundamental to affirm from the very outset that effective counter-terrorism measures and the protection of human rights are not conflicting goals," said the archbishop. "The absolute unacceptability of terrorism lies precisely in the fact that it uses innocent people as means to obtain its ends. However, counter-terrorism strategy must not sacrifice fundamental human rights in the name of security. Rather, it must refrain from selective implementation of measures; otherwise, it would corrode the very values that it intends to protect." "Terrorists must never be allowed to point to this kind of deficiency on the part of States for their actions. ... On the other hand, not even the terrorists' contempt for human life and dignity can justify denying them treatment according to international humanitarian and human rights norms." "The Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism should make clear that no cause, no matter how just, can excuse or legitimize the deliberate killing or maiming of civilian populations. Even the legitimate right to resist unjust authorities and the right to self-determination and national liberation, must not threaten social fabric and domestic public order." "Terrorism," Archbishop Migliore went on, "is a cultural manifestation ... of warped perceptions of reality, of xenophobic complexes, of contempt for the other, ... of cynical abuse of religion," and must be faced with "cultural instruments," and with "a courageous and resolute political, diplomatic and economic commitment to relieve situations of oppression and marginalization which facilitate the designs of terrorists." "It must be firmly stated that the injustices existing in the world can never be used to excuse acts of terrorism, and it should be noted that the victims of the radical breakdown of order which terrorism seeks to achieve include above all the countless millions of men and women who are least able to withstand a collapse of international solidarity. The terrorist's claim to be acting on behalf of the poor is a patent falsehood." "Religions and inter-religious dialogue," he concluded, "have a fundamental role to play in contrasting the terrorists' preaching of hate and violence as antithetical to authentic religion." Source: VIS

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