A ‘club of elites’ will not realise the multilateral future we need, Holy See tells UN Assembly

Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States of the Holy See, addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s 78th session.
UN Photo/Cia Pak
Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States of the Holy See, addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s 78th session.
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Real reform of the UN is vital to ensure an effective multilateral system, said Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States, as he argued for “a return to listening and dialogue” to solve conflicts and lessen the suffering of humanity.

“Any reform of the United Nations must not be based in first instance on the multiplication of meetings, speeches, structures or institutions, but in rendering what is already existing more efficient and in line with the current era we are living in,” he said in his address to the general debate.

An important turning point, he continued, could be restoring the healthy distinction between the actions of States and those of civil society, while focusing on rebuilding healthy relations and trust between Nations, to foster peace and security.

Nuclear disarmament

Turning to the rising nuclear threat due the war in Ukraine, Mr. Gallagher underscored the need to instill an ambitious program of work for the Second Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

He said: “The Holy See calls on States to sign and ratify the TPNW, as well the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which together, in complementarity, form the basis for the disarmament and non-proliferation regime.”

Artificial Intelligence

As for the growing number of legal and ethical concerns about the use of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) in armed conflicts, Mr. Gallagher said, “the Holy See supports the establishment of an international organization for artificial intelligence, aimed at facilitating the fullest possible exchange of scientific and technological information for peaceful uses and for the promotion of the common good and integral human development.”

Continuing, he also noted that new technologies should be used to mitigate the planetary crisis of climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss.

Respect for human rights

He also drew attention to the fact that this year we are marking the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of the 30th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.

In this regard, he said “The significant anniversaries of these documents invite an in-depth reflection on the foundation of human rights and respect for them in the contemporary world in order to renew commitments in favor of the defense of human dignity.” He emphasized how religious freedom is one of the absolute minimum requirements necessary to live in dignity.

The Secretary for Relations with States expressed deep concern over conflict-nduced humanitarian crises in several countries and stressed that to make peace a reality, the international community must move away from the logic of the legitimacy of war.

“It is the duty of each one present in this room, because only with in the research of peace and in the peaceful living between States, that we can become truly united nations, in single human family” he concluded.

Full statement available here.

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