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Monsignor Janusz S. Urbańczyk Monsignor Janusz S. Urbańczyk 

Holy See to OSCE: Promote role of women in fostering peace and security

Monsignor Janusz Urbańczyk, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), highlights the importance of dialogue and respect for international law as key elements in conflict resolution

By Vatican News staff writer

The Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Monsignor Janusz Urbańczyk, has urged the European body to “continue working for peace and justice by implementing the commitments they have consensually undertaken.”

Speaking on Thursday during the 1298th meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council, Monsignor Urbańczyk recalled that 45th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act and the 30th anniversary of the Charter of Paris – both celebrated in 2020 – remind the participating States of their commitments “at a time when the OSCE region still faces persistent threats and other unresolved conflicts that are able to undermine the peace and stability in the whole OSCE area and beyond.”

The Permanent Observer, therefore, stressed that “the pursuit of peace and progress, with its trials and its errors, its successes and its setbacks, can never be relaxed and never abandoned.”

Dialogue, global ethic of cooperation

Welcoming the OSCE’s comprehensive concept of security in all dimensions, Monsignor Urbańczyk restated the Holy See’s support for dialogue and respect for international law as a means to settling conflicts.

He noted that “a real and lasting peace will only be possible on the basis of a global ethic of cooperation in the service of a future shaped by interdependence and shared responsibility in the whole human family.”

Role of women in peacebuilding

Monsignor Urbańczyk drew attention to the “irreplaceable contribution women offer when it comes to reconciliation and the building of peace,” recalling the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.

In this regard, he reaffirmed the Holy See’s conviction of the need to promote “the role of women in all levels of conflict prevention, crisis management and resolution, and post-conflict rehabilitation.” He also called on the OSCE to work towards fostering the role of women in peace and security “according to our consensually agreed commitments.”

Human rights, gender equality, democracy

Also central in the Permanent Observer’s statement was the call to “place a special focus on human rights, democracy and gender equality” by adopting an approach that “respects to the same extent all human rights universally recognized, in order to avoid establishing a hierarchy among them.”

Monsignor Urbańczyk specified that human rights should never be used either “as a means to advance political, economic, military, cultural or ideological agenda, or as open terms different actors can change according to their purposes.”

With this in mind, the Monsignor reiterated the Holy See’s hope that member States will respect the criteria of “impartiality and professionalism” of their executive structures, so as to implement works and projects compliant with the commitments consensually undertaken especially with regard to “equality between men and women”

Fidelity to agreements taken

The Vatican representative also insisted that the adoption of new commitments within the OSCE should in no way divert attention from the need to implement “fully and in good faith, the existing ones.”

Recalling the bona fide principle, he urged that “existing commitments are not substantially amended, transformed or overruled through improper ‘interpretations’.”

Tolerance and non-discrimination

Monsignor Urbańczyk went on to encourage the OSCE to “maintain the topic of tolerance and non-discrimination high on its agenda” paying close attention to the growing “intolerance and discrimination against Christians, Jews, Muslims and members of other religions.”

In responding to this concern, Monsignor Urbańczyk recommended adopting an approach that, “while being comprehensive and addressing cross-cutting issues, acknowledges the specificity of such forms of intolerance and discrimination and addresses the specific needs of targeted communities without showing bias or preferential selectivity among them.”

In this way, he continued, “the OSCE can respond effectively to the security challenges faced by all religious communities in our region.”

A united front against the pandemic

Concluding his statement, Monsignor Urbańczyk encouraged member States to “come together and take joint action in the face of global threats, including the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic,” so as to make the OSCE “stronger and more resilient”, guided – in the words of Pope Francis – “by the rudder of human dignity and the compass of fundamental social principles.”

14 January 2021, 16:21