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Pope Francis: message for conference marking 70th anniversary of Declaration of Human Rights, “at the centre of all policies”, to protect the “invisible”

foto SIR/Marco Calvarese

“In the face of these serious phenomena, we are all called to take responsibility”. In a message to the International Conference on “Human Rights in the Contemporary World: Conquests, Omissions, Negations”, promoted by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and the Pontifical Gregorian University to mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 25th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, the Pope called for co-responsibility in the protection of human rights. “When fundamental rights are violated, or when some are given higher value to the detriment of others, or when they are guaranteed only to certain groups, then serious injustices occur, which in turn fuel conflicts, with serious consequences both within individual nations and in relations between them”, Pope Francis warned. According to the Pontiff, “each of us is called to contribute, with courage and determination, according to our specific role, to protecting the fundamental rights of every person, especially the ‘invisible’: of the so many people who hunger and thirst, who are naked, sick, foreign, detained, who live on the margins of society or are discarded”. “This need for justice and solidarity – the Pope said – has a special meaning for us, Christians, because the Gospel itself invites us to turn our gaze towards the smallest of our brothers and sisters, and to show them compassion by concretely alleviating their suffering”. Finally, Pope Francis made a “heartfelt appeal” to those with “institutional responsibility”, encouraging them to “place human rights at the centre of all policies, including development cooperation policies, even when this means going against the tide”. Pope Francis expressed the hope that initiatives such as the conference that is starting today at the Gregorian University “may reawaken consciences and inspire initiatives to protect and promote human dignity”.

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