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Holy See to OSCE: on discrimination, tolerance, integration in EU

Pope Francis received the life vest of a young migrant who died trying to reach Europe.  The Holy See has urged EU to promote tolerance, integration - AFP

Pope Francis received the life vest of a young migrant who died trying to reach Europe. The Holy See has urged EU to promote tolerance, integration - AFP

09/06/2016 17:35

(Vatican Radio)  The Holy See’s Permanent Representative to UN offices in Vienna, Msgr. Janusz Urbanczyk, has urged the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe to pay greater attention to discrimination against Europe’s Christians and to work in unison to promote tolerance and the integration of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants arriving on Europe’s shores.

Msgr. Urbanczyk, who also represents the Holy See at the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, offered his observations in a statement 9 June at the 1104th Meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council.

Below, please find the text of Msgr. Urbanczyk’s statement:

Statement re:  Address by Mr. Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

Mr. Chairman,

The  Delegation  of  the  Holy  See  joins  the  previous  speakers  in  warmly welcoming H. E. Mr. Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe,  to the  Permanent  Council  and thanks  him  for his  intervention.  His presence  at  this  Permanent Council reminds us once more of the great European project, inspired  -  as  Pope Francis said in his address upon receiving the Charlemagne Award last month  -by that  “ardent hope and the quest  for  solidarity” that after the Second World War  guided the founders and promoters of this project.

The  Holy  See  has  maintained  official  relations  with  the  Council  of  Europe  since 1962, having Observer status  since 1970.  In its  capacity as Observer, the Holy  See provides positive input to the Council of Europe’s work  and participates in  many  Steering and  ad hoc  Committees.  It has  ratified several Council of Europe Treaties.

During his November 2014 address to the Council of Europe, Pope Francis explained  the participation of the Holy See, saying that the Church “seeks nothing other than to  serve  and  to  bear  witness  to  the  truth”  and  “in  this  spirit,  the  Holy  See  intends  to  continue  its  cooperation  with  the  Council  of  Europe,  which  today  plays  a  fundamental role in shaping the mentality of future generations of Europeans” .

My Delegation devotes great attention to the co-operation between the OSCE  and the Council of Europe and wishes to underline that it should take place with   due  respect for the different nature and membership of the two Organizations, avoiding  duplication of efforts on matters of direct concern  to  both of them. In this regard, a  delimitation of the respective areas of competence and of differing  priorities seems  preferable to the overlapping and replication of activities.

At the same time, we all acknowledge that there are issues that are common to  both  Organizations,  where  a  well-planned  and  structured  co-operation  –  respecting  the differences  between  the  CoE  and  the  OSCE  –  could  contribute  to  the  common  good. Here I would like briefly to draw your attention to two such common concerns,  of particular relevance today: integration of migrants and promotion of tolerance.

We are witnessing an extraordinary migration of people fleeing from wars and  persecutions,  as  well  as  from  poverty  and  exclusion,  from  different  areas  close  to  Europe. According to the Holy See: “It is important to view migrants not only on the  basis of their status as regular or irregular, but above all as people whose dignity is to  be protected and who are capable of contributing to progress and the general welfare.

This  is  especially  the  case  when  they  responsibly  assume  their  obligations  towards  those  who  receive  them, gratefully  respecting the  material  and  spiritual heritage  of  the host country, obeying its laws and helping with its needs” .

With regard to the promotion of tolerance, my Delegation notes with regret that  a general rise in racism and intolerance (including anti-Semitism and discrimination  against  Muslims)  is  being  observed  in  Europe.  Furthermore,  Christians  also  suffer  intolerance and discrimination, whether they are  in the  majority or  in the  minority,  often in ways that go unnoticed.

Anti-Christian sentiment  appears to be the last acceptable prejudice and seems  to  receive  less  attention  than  other  forms  of  intolerance  because  of  Christianity’s  position  as  the  principal  religion  in  Europe.  Marginalization  and  social  hostility  against religions and  committed  believers seem to be among the main root causes of  intolerance  and  discrimination,  while  public  discourse  plays  a  fundamental  role  in  creating  and  reinforcing  patterns  of  religious  intolerance  and  discrimination.

Therefore, the Holy See encourages both the OSCE and the Council of Europe to pay  due  attention  also  to  the  discrimination  and  intolerance  against  Christians  inside  Europe, without applying any improper selectivity or hierarchical distinction. These  concerns  should  represent  a  common  concern  for  our  Organizations  since  ignoring  them  would  leave  unchecked  a  direct  threat  to  the  stability  of  the  international community or may even trigger violence and conflict on a wider-scale.

The Holy See considers  interreligious dialogue and dialogue between religious  communities and States  to be powerful tools at our disposal,  both  to promote greater  tolerance, respect and understanding,  and  to ensure the stability and security  of  our  societies.  My  Delegation  encourages  every  initiative  to  this  end,  while  inviting  all  stakeholders to keep in mind the important  differences between these two forms of  dialogue.

In  conclusion,  I  would  like  to  assure  Secretary  General  Jagland  of  the  Holy  See’s continued cooperation with  the  Council of Europe  in  its  desire to achieve what  has  become  known  as  Pope  Francis’  “dream  for  Europe”.  Also  in  his  speech  last  month, His  Holiness  said  he  “dream[s]  of  a  Europe that  promotes  and protects  the  rights of everyone, without neglecting its duties towards all  (...)  a Europe that cares  for  children,  that  offers  fraternal  help  to  the  poor  and  those  newcomers  seeking  acceptance because they have lost everything and need shelter  (…)  a Europe that is  attentive to and concerned for the infirm and the elderly, lest they be simply set aside  as  useless  (…)  a  Europe  of  families,  with  truly  effective  policies  concentrated  on  faces rather than numbers, on birth rates  more than rates of consumption” .

Lastly,  my Delegation would like to assure Secretary General Jagland of its very best wishes  for his future work.  Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

 

(Vatican Radio)  The Holy See’s Permanent Representative to UN offices in Vienna, Msgr. Janusz Urbanczyk, has urged the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe to pay greater attention to discrimination against Europe’s Christians and to work in unison to promote tolerance and the integration of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants arriving on Europe’s shores.

Msgr. Urbanczyk, who also represents the Holy See at the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, offered his observations in a statement 9 June at the 1104th Meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council.

Below, please find the text of Msgr. Urbanczyk’s statement:

Statement re:  Address by Mr. Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

Mr. Chairman,

The  Delegation  of  the  Holy  See  joins  the  previous  speakers  in  warmly welcoming H. E. Mr. Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe,  to the  Permanent  Council  and thanks  him  for his  intervention.  His presence  at  this  Permanent Council reminds us once more of the great European project, inspired  -  as  Pope Francis said in his address upon receiving the Charlemagne Award last month  -by that  “ardent hope and the quest  for  solidarity” that after the Second World War  guided the founders and promoters of this project.

The  Holy  See  has  maintained  official  relations  with  the  Council  of  Europe  since 1962, having Observer status  since 1970.  In its  capacity as Observer, the Holy  See provides positive input to the Council of Europe’s work  and participates in  many  Steering and  ad hoc  Committees.  It has  ratified several Council of Europe Treaties.

During his November 2014 address to the Council of Europe, Pope Francis explained  the participation of the Holy See, saying that the Church “seeks nothing other than to  serve  and  to  bear  witness  to  the  truth”  and  “in  this  spirit,  the  Holy  See  intends  to  continue  its  cooperation  with  the  Council  of  Europe,  which  today  plays  a  fundamental role in shaping the mentality of future generations of Europeans” .

My Delegation devotes great attention to the co-operation between the OSCE  and the Council of Europe and wishes to underline that it should take place with   due  respect for the different nature and membership of the two Organizations, avoiding  duplication of efforts on matters of direct concern  to  both of them. In this regard, a  delimitation of the respective areas of competence and of differing  priorities seems  preferable to the overlapping and replication of activities.

At the same time, we all acknowledge that there are issues that are common to  both  Organizations,  where  a  well-planned  and  structured  co-operation  –  respecting  the differences  between  the  CoE  and  the  OSCE  –  could  contribute  to  the  common  good. Here I would like briefly to draw your attention to two such common concerns,  of particular relevance today: integration of migrants and promotion of tolerance.

We are witnessing an extraordinary migration of people fleeing from wars and  persecutions,  as  well  as  from  poverty  and  exclusion,  from  different  areas  close  to  Europe. According to the Holy See: “It is important to view migrants not only on the  basis of their status as regular or irregular, but above all as people whose dignity is to  be protected and who are capable of contributing to progress and the general welfare.

This  is  especially  the  case  when  they  responsibly  assume  their  obligations  towards  those  who  receive  them, gratefully  respecting the  material  and  spiritual heritage  of  the host country, obeying its laws and helping with its needs” .

With regard to the promotion of tolerance, my Delegation notes with regret that  a general rise in racism and intolerance (including anti-Semitism and discrimination  against  Muslims)  is  being  observed  in  Europe.  Furthermore,  Christians  also  suffer  intolerance and discrimination, whether they are  in the  majority or  in the  minority,  often in ways that go unnoticed.

Anti-Christian sentiment  appears to be the last acceptable prejudice and seems  to  receive  less  attention  than  other  forms  of  intolerance  because  of  Christianity’s  position  as  the  principal  religion  in  Europe.  Marginalization  and  social  hostility  against religions and  committed  believers seem to be among the main root causes of  intolerance  and  discrimination,  while  public  discourse  plays  a  fundamental  role  in  creating  and  reinforcing  patterns  of  religious  intolerance  and  discrimination.

Therefore, the Holy See encourages both the OSCE and the Council of Europe to pay  due  attention  also  to  the  discrimination  and  intolerance  against  Christians  inside  Europe, without applying any improper selectivity or hierarchical distinction. These  concerns  should  represent  a  common  concern  for  our  Organizations  since  ignoring  them  would  leave  unchecked  a  direct  threat  to  the  stability  of  the  international community or may even trigger violence and conflict on a wider-scale.

The Holy See considers  interreligious dialogue and dialogue between religious  communities and States  to be powerful tools at our disposal,  both  to promote greater  tolerance, respect and understanding,  and  to ensure the stability and security  of  our  societies.  My  Delegation  encourages  every  initiative  to  this  end,  while  inviting  all  stakeholders to keep in mind the important  differences between these two forms of  dialogue.

In  conclusion,  I  would  like  to  assure  Secretary  General  Jagland  of  the  Holy  See’s continued cooperation with  the  Council of Europe  in  its  desire to achieve what  has  become  known  as  Pope  Francis’  “dream  for  Europe”.  Also  in  his  speech  last  month, His  Holiness  said  he  “dream[s]  of  a  Europe that  promotes  and protects  the  rights of everyone, without neglecting its duties towards all  (...)  a Europe that cares  for  children,  that  offers  fraternal  help  to  the  poor  and  those  newcomers  seeking  acceptance because they have lost everything and need shelter  (…)  a Europe that is  attentive to and concerned for the infirm and the elderly, lest they be simply set aside  as  useless  (…)  a  Europe  of  families,  with  truly  effective  policies  concentrated  on  faces rather than numbers, on birth rates  more than rates of consumption” .

Lastly,  my Delegation would like to assure Secretary General Jagland of its very best wishes  for his future work.  Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

 

09/06/2016 17:35