We are all called to contribute “with courage and determination” to the respect of the rights of all persons, in particular the “invisible ones,” said Pope Francis in a message sent to the International Conference on Human Rights held at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome on December 10, marking the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
While the equal dignity of all human beings was solemnly proclaimed in 1948, said the Bishop of Rome, “many contradictions” still remain in contemporary societies.
“Many forms of injustice persist,” he lamented, “fueled by reductive anthropological visions and an economic model based on profit.”
Thus, the pontiff explained, “a part of humanity lives in opulence” while the dignity of the other part is “denied, scorned, or trampled.”
Faced with these serious problems, he said, everyone is called to contribute “with courage and determination” to the respect of the fundamental rights of all persons, especially those who are “invisible.” We are “all implicated,” he stressed, each in our specific role.
Among the most vulnerable in society, Pope Francis named, first of all, “unborn children who are denied the right to come into the world.”
He also referred to “those who don’t have access to the means to lead a dignified life,” and “those who don’t have adequate education.” Not to mention, he said (among others), people who suffer “suspicion and contempt” and are subject to discrimination and violence because of their race, ethnicity, nationality, or religion.
Entitled “Human rights in the modern world: conquests, omissions, and negations,” this conference was organized on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 25th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action of 1993.
The event was also promoted by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. Its prefect, Cardinal Peter Turkson, was present and read the pope’s message.
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