Brian R Corbin's Reflections on Religion and Life

Living Your Faith as Citizens and Leaders in Politics, Culture, Society and Business



Vatican City, 4 APR 2008 (VIS) – Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the Office of the United Nations in Geneva, gave a speech to the advisory committee during the seventh session of the Human Rights Council that took place in Geneva from 3 to 28 March.

Archbishop Tomasi, who spoke on intercultural dialogue and human rights on 18 March at a round table discussion, affirmed that “to each right corresponds a duty. In this interaction of rights and duties and in the pursuit of the common good, communities are formed and protected”.

That is why, he added, “the task then is to provide an enabling environment where the person can flourish without undue discrimination. Religious freedom, in many ways, is a symbol of this type of environment that sustains both individual persons and the community”.

In another speech concerning racism given at the Human Rights Council on 19 March, the permanent observer of the Holy See pointed out that “the question of pluralism in contemporary societies and the fight against racism can find a solution in an environment where the persons enjoy all human rights, civil and political as well as social, cultural and economic”.

“Tolerance alone does not suffice;” he continued. “Everyone should acknowledge both the difference and the equality with the other person to find solutions to the practical problems of living together”.

Archbishop Tomasi emphasized that “racism and intolerance should be combated through concerted practical measures”. In this context, he affirmed that “education, that favors mutual knowledge, that builds confidence and sustains the implementation of human rights, can serve as a critical vehicle for effective dialogue. Other concrete ways,” he concluded, “are the improvement of the United Nations early warning mechanisms related to this issue”.


Filed under: Social Justice

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