2021.03.21 Giornata contro il razzismo

Holy See decries racism against migrants and religious discrimination

The Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations in New York, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, deplores growing racial discrimination against migrants and refugees and rise in religious intolerance.

By Lisa Zengarini

The Holy See has reiterated its calls to address “decisively” the “pernicious and abhorrent evil of racism” in all its forms and to stem related religious intolerance, discrimination, and persecution.

“Despite apparent advances and even significant changes in legislation, the reality of racism remains”, lamented Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations, on Monday

An affront to the inherent dignity of each human being

In a statement he addressed to the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on the topic, the Vatican nuncio recalled that the “wrongful belief” underpinning racism that “one person, reduced to a mere characteristic, is superior to another”, constitutes “an affront to the inherent dignity of each human being”

“All members of the human family share the same basic rights and duties, since they possess the same God-given dignity.”

Migrants are not a political problem, but human beings

He referred in particular to the “reprehensible” acts of racism, xenophobia and discrimination against migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers which are “a clear manifestation of the racist mentality.”

“Migrants are not seen as endowed with the same intrinsic dignity as any other person and are therefore openly rejected”, Archbishop Caccia decried

He noted that “Migration can instil fear and apprehension, often fuelled and exploited for political purposes.” Hence the urgent need to address this particular issue “decisively.”

“Migrants must not be considered as a political problem to be easily disposed of, but rather as human beings who share the same intrinsic dignity and value as every person.”

Worrying increase of religious discrimination

The Vatican Observer also  expressed the Holy See’s deep concern for the continuing rise in cases of religious intolerance, discrimination, and persecution.

Considering the many places where religious freedom is severely restricted, he recalled that governments “have a duty to protect this right of their citizens as it is one of the absolute minimum requirements necessary to live in dignity.”

Archbishop Caccia further warned against the fear of “otherness” that “can lead to a quest for a one-dimensional uniformity that seeks to eliminate all differences and traditions under the guise of a superficial quest for unity.”

Culture of dialogue antidote to fear of “otherness”

The antidote to this “false universalism”, he remarked, echoing Pope Francis’ words in his Encyclical Letter ‘Fratelli tutti’, is to be found in a culture of dialogue that recognizes “the rich gifts and uniqueness of each person and each people.”

Concluding, Archbishop Caccia reaffirmed that the equal dignity of all human beings enshrined in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights “demands that we never turn a blind eye to racism or exclusion, but that we approach every person with openness, solidarity, and love.”

“Racism is a pernicious and abhorrent evil that denies human dignity and divides the human family. No one should be discriminated against, in law or in fact, on account of their race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status”

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31 October 2023, 15:08