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A Busy Week for the Vatican and the United Nations

Address to UN Assembly on Social Development

Holy See addresses UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Migration in our Time


VATICAN CITY, OCT 7, 1998 (VIS) - Yesterday in the Vatican was the second

day of the World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees.

The day's central theme was "Migration in Our Time."

During the morning session there were four speeches. Professor Hugo

Graeme, from the geography department of the University of Adelaide,

Australia, spoke on "Key Issues in International Migration Today: Trends";

Professor Jose de Souza Martins from the Sociology department at the

University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, focussed his intervention on the

phenomenon of "Internal Migration." The theme "The Migrant in an Era of

Globalization" was developed by Professor Eddy Lee, director of the

Cross-Department Analyses and Reports Team, International Labor Office,

Geneva, Switzerland. Hania Zlotnik, from the United Nations Mortality and

Migration Section, spoke on the theme "Women in Migration."

In the afternoon, Professor Charles B. Keely, chairman of the Demography

department at Georgetown University, U.S.A., presented a paper on

"Migration for Professional, Cultural and Academic Reasons." Lastly, Irene

Kahn, United Nations' High Commissioner for Refugees, gave a speech on "The

Sufferings of the Refugees."

This morning there were four speakers. Bishop Kurt Koch of Basel,

Switzerland, spoke on pluralism, a basic principal of modern society.

Archbishop Francesco Gioia, council secretary, addressed the topic

"Welcoming the Foreigner Yesterday and Today." Prof. Adriano Bausola,

rector of Sacred Heart Catholic University, spoke on "Principles and

Criteria for a fruitful coexistence beyond racism and intolerance." Prof.

Graziano Battistella, director of the Scalabrini Migration Center in the

Philippines. concluded with a talk on "Clandestine Migration, with

particular reference to the Asian Experience."



VATICAN CITY, OCT 7, 1998 (VIS) - Archbishop Renato Martino, Holy See

permanent observer to the United Nations. spoke yesterday afternoon before

the Third Committee of the 53rd session of the General Assembly on Item

100, "Social Development Including Questions Relating to the World Social

Situation and to Youth, Aging, Disabled Persons and the Family."

Recalling the March 1995 U.N. Summit on Social Development in Copenhagen,

he pointed to the role of the Holy See which, he said, "hopes that the

commitments solemnly assumed ... will be faithfully implemented." Among

those commitments: "recognizing the key role of the family in social

development; respecting the rights of parents; reducing all forms of

poverty and eliminating extreme poverty, accelerating economic and social


Archbishop Martino affirmed the Holy See's satisfaction at "the Secretary

General's launching of the International Year of Older Persons," when

society can be reminded of their gifts, talents, knowledge and experiences,

and become "more aware of their particular needs."

He then turned to the question of disabled persons, saying that we must

"see those with disabilities as people, not merely the disabled. ... The

United Nations must renew its recognition of the sacred dignity of all

human life, especially the most vulnerable, as well as the sick and those

with disabilities."

On the issue of social development, the apostolic nuncio remarked that

"the elimination of absolute poverty" is the key to development. He

recalled that "the horrors of war have not only taken so many human lives

and forced millions of others from their homes, they have also disrupted

industry, agriculture and trade, blocked the provision of aid and even

turned back the clock of development."

"Each and every one of us," he affirmed, calling for international

solidarity, "must be prepared to deal with the stains of blood, hatred and

lack of concern. Answers must be found before the work toward social

development can continue."



VATICAN CITY, OCT 8, 1998 (VIS) - Archbishop Giuseppe Bertello, head of the

Holy see delegation to the executive council of the United Nations High

Commissioner for Refugees, addressed the assembly on October 6.

He began by pointing out that "the theme of international solidarity and

sharing the burdens of assistance to refugees is a central tenet of the

social doctrine and commitments of the Holy See. In 1992 it published a

document on this subject entitled 'Refugees, A Challenge to Solidarity'."

Archbishop Bertello affirmed that "the refugee is not an additional

burden for society, but a person, with their dignity who, arriving at our

doorstep, challenges us and calls out to us. Unfortunately, moving from

declarations of principle to practical programs of action is not always

easy. ... The international community is called to act in a decisive way

and to give proof of concrete solidarity."

The Holy See hopes, he added, that a solution could be found to assist

all refugees, especially those "whose condition of refugee becomes almost a

permanent way of life."

He then expressed the Holy See's concern "for the tendencies found in the

legislation of certain countries to restrict both the entry of those

seeking asylum and the granting of the status of refugee by means of

increased border controls, restrictions in granting visas and by expelling

those asking asylum who entered illegally. Certainly, the right of each

State to check the entry of foreigners onto its territory is not in


The head of delegation stated in conclusion that there appears, however,

to be "an orientation which seems to reflect more the will to protect

oneself from refugees than to protect the refugees." He asked that

countries assisting refugees "assure, among other things, the unity of



VATICAN CITY, OCT 10, 1998 (VIS) - Today at noon in the Paul VI Hall, Pope

John Paul met with participants in the 20th World Congress of the

International Christian Union of Business Executives (UNIAPAC), as well as

with those taking part in the Italian National Meeting of the Societies of

St. Vincent de Paul.

Reminding UNIAPAC members that "the world economy is rapidly moving

towards a wider interdependence of markets," he added: "your understanding

of globalization must not be limited simply to economic realities. ...

Globalization at the economic level must not neglect the inalienable

dignity of every human being and the fact that the goods of creation have a

universal destination."

"You also have the duty," said the Holy Father, speaking French, "to

promote solidarity in all economic processes. Globalization must involve a

great participation by people, and not their exclusion or their

marginalization. ... No person must be excluded from economic spheres, but

on the contrary each one must be able to benefit from technological and

social progress, as well as the fruits of creation."

In brief comments to the English-speaking members of UNIAPAC, the Pope

said: "Never cease to promote the good of the human person by ensuring that

the principles of justice and solidarity are respected in business

enterprises and relations." He also spoke in Spanish.

Then, addressing participants in the meeting of the Societies of St.

Vincent de Paul, he affirmed: "In the face of the scandal of old and new

forms of poverty also present in today's opulent societies, how can we

continue to live the teaching of Blessed Frederick Ozanam? How can we

answer the needs of so many who are forced to leave their native country,

refugees and illegal immigrants, families without rights and without the

necessities of life; so many unemployed, elderly people alone and

abandoned, ill people and people who are exploited and enslaved by avidity

and egoism?"

Federico Ozanam, a lay man born in Milan and co-founder of the Societies

of St. Vincent de Paul, was beatified by the Pope in Paris on August 22, 1997.

The Pope encouraged them in their good works and urged them "to be in

Italian society worthy disciples of Frederick Ozanam, carrying on his work."

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