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The headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) where the World Health Assembly (WHA) takes place.   The headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) where the World Health Assembly (WHA) takes place.  

Covid-19: Holy See urges not to abandon the most vulnerable

Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, Holy See’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, addressed the 73rd World Health Assembly, held online, May 18-19.

By Robin Gomes

As the world battles the Covid-19 pandemic, the Holy See is reiterating the call of Pope Francis that the vulnerable in every part of the world be not forgotten.   

Health - primary common good

Addressing the 73rd World Health Assembly in Geneva, Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič noted that the unprecedented situation of the pandemic, “brings a new light on the interdependence between Nations, and in particular, on the necessity to consider health as a primary common good, which requires solidarity and coordinated action at the global level”.

The most vulnerable 

He noted that the consequences of this crisis could trigger further starvation and instability in many countries.  

In this regard, he backed the call of Pope Francis that “the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters living in the cities and peripheries of every part of the world, not be abandoned”.  

Ceasefire, humanitarian routes, sanctions

Archbishop Jurkovič also lent strong support to the UN Secretary General’s appeal for an “immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world.” This includes “ceasing all forms of hostility, promoting the creation of humanitarian aid routes, openness to diplomacy, and attentiveness to those who are in situations of great vulnerability.

Pope Francis has also called for international sanctions and embargoes to be relaxed, allowing countries to provide adequate support to their citizens.

The Holy See’s representative hoped the research motivated by the COVID-19 pandemic will be conducted “in a transparent and disinterested way, in order to find vaccines and treatments”, to which everyone in the world can have access.

Efforts of Catholic Church, Holy See

Archbishop Jurkovič took the opportunity to make known to World Health Assembly the commitment and effort of the Catholic Church worldwide in providing basic healthcare and necessities, especially to the most deprived, including during the Covid-19 emergency.   

Across the world, he said, “some 5,000 Catholic-inspired hospitals, and more than 16,000 Church-based dispensaries, are complementing and reinforcing the efforts of governments to provide healthcare to all, by assuring that the poorest and most marginalized persons do not lack basic necessities … such as medicine and especially the possibility of adequate health care.”    

In many places, he continued, the Church has made its facilities available to support the global response to the pandemic of Covid-19. Besides, many religious orders, parishes and priests have been on the frontlines, caring for those who have been infected and their families.

Besides pledging to contribute to the WHO Emergency Fund for the supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to frontline medical workers, the Holy See has also made various donations to regions in need of urgent help.

Pope Francis, the archbishop pointed out, has set up the Vatican Covid-19 Commission and the Church has launched several projects to bring help to those populations most affected by the pandemic.

19 May 2020, 17:12