Stemma Episcopale

Stemma Episcopale
Questo e lo Stemma Episcopale del ArciVescovo Mons. Silvano Maria Tomasi, missionario Scalabriniano. Lo stemma ricorda il patrono della congeregazione Scalabriniana voluto dal Beato G.B. Scalabrini, San Carlo Borremeo nel suo stemma ce questa scritta Humilitas.

martedì 5 ottobre 2010

61st Session of the Executive Committee of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

Statement by H.E. Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva
at the 61st Session of the Executive Committee of the
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Geneva, 5 October 2010

Mr. Chairman

1. The Delegation of the Holy See extends its congratulations and thanks to you and in this 60th anniversary year of the Statute of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and General Assembly Resolution 428, thanks the High Commissioner and his staff for the protection and assistance rendered to persons of concern throughout the world.

2. The first task imposed by the Statutes of the Office of the High Commissioner was to promote “the conclusion and ratification of international conventions for the protection of refugees.” As we are all aware the year 2011 will mark the 60th anniversary of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. A major response has been given.

3. Mr. Chairman, the Statute imposes upon the High Commissioner the duty to “improve the situation of refugees”. Of course, this is a responsibility shared with States, and over the years much has been accomplished. We were dismayed, however, to read in last year’s report on Global Strategic Priorities (EC/60/SC/INF.2) that at the time of writing there had been 1,777 credible reports of refoulement occurring in at least 60 countries. These numbers did not reflect the tragic events occurring to some asylum seekers at the end of 2009. Were it possible also to consider unreported cases of refoulement and ‘push-back’ to unsafe countries, we would be face-to-face with a protection deficit of considerable proportion. All of us need to reflect seriously and remain engaged in how to give priority to people even though protection space is shrinking.

4. In the words of the Statute, refugees, persons needing and desiring international protection, are within “the competence” of the High Commissioner, especially within the context of his particular competence by using his good offices to seek and frame solutions for refugees and other persons of concern. Recent initiatives on assuring protection in contexts of mixed migration, including regional and international processes to actualize the 10 Point Plan of Action, have wisely engaged the range of actors in states, international organizations and NGOs, and have been of increasing practical value. My Delegation would further welcome the adoption of an Executive Committee Conclusion about persons of concern with disabilities. At the same time, we wish to encourage the High Commissioner in his endeavors to address the problems of birth registration for people of concern.

5. Commitments to current solutions, however, are not sufficient, a fact painfully evident in today’s 36 and a half million persons of concern to the UNHCR and, among them, in the distress of so many millions of refugees in protracted situations. Even with the welcome commitment to formal new resettlement programs by a number of countries, resettlement places worldwide have fallen to a level less than half of the resettlement need that UNHCR has identified for the coming year. The solution of resettlement merits greater support, as do voluntary repatriation and local integration, where numbers have also been low. With this in mind, my Delegation is supportive of the High Commissioner’s exploration of channels of legal labour migration to provide additional refugee solutions. Indeed, refugees tell us how important legal livelihoods are to their own search for solutions and, as we all see, more than a few choose to go in this direction even outside of legal channels. The sine qua non of such a “fourth durable solution” however would have to be specific attention to the unique and enduring protection need of the refugees.

6. Mr. Chairman, refugee protection is inextricably linked to recognition of status as a refugee. The Holy See continues to be alarmed by the trend among developed nations to externalize status determination procedures, especially to places with records of violation of human rights. A convergence of efforts seems called for to develop criteria of protection for vulnerable forcibly uprooted people still left in the gray areas of the law. My Delegation also deeply regrets the practice of detention of asylum seekers. This is particularly lamentable when it results in the separation of families and or the detention of children. We are pleased by UNHCR’s participation and leadership in the roundtable on alternatives to detention which was held in Seoul, in April of this year. Before leaving the topic of status determination, my Delegation notes that in far too many States the responsibility for status determination is still left with UNHCR, even in States which are party to the Convention. While States need to undertake this duty, UNHCR has to ensure that all procedural and other safeguards it recommends to others in regard to status determination, particularly the assistance of counsel and right to a meaningful appeal process, be present in its status determination procedures.

7. The world and the High Commissioner’s responsibilities have moved on since 1950. The General Assembly has encouraged the High Commissioner to extend his good offices on behalf of conflict-induced internally displaced persons. In 2009 for the first time, there were more internally displaced persons of concern to UNHCR than refugees. Like refugees, IDPs as presently defined are the product of violations of human rights which are part and parcel of any armed conflict. Any durable solution for IDPs must be based on recognition and protection of human rights.

8. Mr. Chairman in this year the two largest displacements of persons have been the result of natural disasters: the January 12th earthquake in Port-au-Prince and the enormous flooding in Pakistan. My delegation compliments the role UNHCR played in coordinating protection and assistance in each of these calamities.

9. Lastly, Mr. Chairman, we are reminded that the Statute instructs the High Commissioner “to reduce the number requiring protection.” Such a reduction can only come about through the recognition, defense, and fostering of human rights, be they political, social, cultural or economic. This way of avoiding destructive conflicts and of safeguarding the dignity of every person is the main road to promote the common good in any country and in the global community and the best prevention of forced displacement.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

venerdì 1 ottobre 2010

15th Session of the Human Rights Council – Item 9

Statement by H.E. Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Permanent Representative of the
Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva,
at the 15th Session of the Human Rights Council – Item 9
Geneva, 28 September 2010

Mr. President,
1.- Religion has taken up greater visibility in the public arena in recent years. A widely spread anti-religious attitude, however, favors some manifestations linked to discrimination and prejudice, as the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance has documented, and this raises complex questions of human rights. My Delegation would like to clarify the interplay and the contradiction between abstract claims and real violations of rights that appear on several instances of public discourse about religion.
2.- The free expression of general or personal considerations in terms of public debate, or of cultural, philosophical and theological dialogue cannot be regarded tout court as a form of defamation of religions, or as forms of incitement to hatred against a religion or a community of believers. Freedom of thought and expression, including freedom to criticize, when exercised within the limits of accuracy, fairness, respect, public morality and order, can be considered a gain of civilization to be protected as a common political and juridical patrimony of humanity, not only as a prerogative of a particular social context or a particular cultural tradition. The development and self-realization of the human person entails, as an essential component, the expression and sharing of her vision of reality. To deny this right would mortify one of the deepest aspirations of the human person and a key factor for the progress of all civilizations.
3.- We must also distinguish the theoretical level, namely the abstract level of values and of philosophical or religious principles, from the existential level, i.e. the practical level where these values and principles affect individuals and communities of human beings. The focus of human rights should be on the human person and human communities. The State of law and human rights have as a mandate the protection and promotion of the dignity and fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals and communities of persons. The systems of values and principles, shared by individuals and communities of persons, are something good, also in the perspective of politics and law, but always if functional to the protection of individuals and communities of persons, not vice versa.
4.- Respect for people and communities of persons then is not fulfilled by a mere "preservation" or formal "immunization" from criticism of the systems of values and principles, but by a substantive promotion and affirmation of fundamental rights and freedoms. Thus freedom of expression, including freedom to criticize, does not deny the rights of persons or communities of persons. It is rather an element of the rule of law which includes freedom of religion and belief, and the prohibition of discrimination based on religion or belief. In this context, attention should focus on the people and communities of persons to see how their rights are protected de facto, beyond the preservation of a given system of values or principles, cultural or religious, whether majority or minority.
5.- The positions of extreme individualism and collectivism offer a partial view of the human person: the first leads her to isolation, the second cancels and absorbs her into the abstract idea of a social or ideological collectivity. These two perspectives do not allow for dialogue, rather make it impossible, because both counter the reality of human nature. The human being has its own uniqueness and originality but is open by nature to relationships with others. Only in these relationships he is fulfilled as a person. As the great civilizations of the world teach, the human person is a "social being" that is fully realized only in the community, starting with the family up to all levels of society and thus to the national and international dimensions. In coherence with nature and human dignity, the community is not a limit to freedom and realization; on the contrary, it is the living space from which the person realizes and expresses her freedom, in which the person pursues her material , ethical and spiritual development, and in turn contributes to the development of the communities she belongs to, and ultimately to the entire human society.
6.- When the social and communitarian dimension is denied, an essential component of the person is mortified and mutilated. History teaches us and documents the negative consequences when this aspect of the person is kept away or denied by ideology. When ideology reconstructs the human being as an abstraction, the dignity and human rights of the real person are radically violated and emptied of content from the inside. The road to the future, even in its religious dimension, passes through the understanding of the person and her natural vocation toward community, therefore through the full protection and full affirmation of human rights in their twofold and inseparable individual and communitarian dimensions.
7.- The main responsibility of the State is the protection of its citizens and all persons, especially those under its jurisdiction. State laws must protect concrete persons even in their community requirements, that are inseparable from the person. In the current debate levels are often confused so that ideologies are defended and the persons and communities of persons sometimes are not adequately protected. National legislation must be effective in protecting the rights of all persons within its jurisdiction. This implies that in the educational system, in the judicial system, in political participation, in access to employment, in a word, that in the civil and political society, religion must not be a reason for discrimination. “Religion, in other words, is not a problem for legislators to solve, but a vital contributor to the national conversation” . True defamation of a religion is when it is manipulated and transformed into an ideology of discrimination against concrete persons and communities of persons.
Mr. President,
8.- In conclusion, new forms of dialogue and education should be found to identify and promote shared values and universal principles, consistent with the dignity and social nature of the human person, directed to the common good and at building a society in which there is a concrete space for the rights and fundamental freedoms of persons and communities of persons. “…there are many areas in which the Church {all religions} and the public authorities can work together for the good of citizens…” . My Delegation agrees with that recommendation of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, according to which we have to anchor the debate in the relevant existing international legal framework and thus ensure a peaceful future for all.

Thank you, Mr. President

48th Series of Meetings of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s General Assemblies

Statement by H.E. Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Permanent Representative of the
Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva
at the 48th Series of Meetings of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s
General Assemblies
Geneva, 21 September 2010

Mr. President,

The Delegation of the Holy See greatly appreciates that the focus of attention of this High Level Segment of the 48th Series of Meetings of the WIPO’s General Assemblies is directed to the critical issues of innovation, growth and development: enhanced creativity opens new concrete options for all.

The raison d’être of the protection system of intellectual property is the promotion of literary, scientific or artistic production and, generally, of inventive activity for the sake of the “common good”. Thus protection officially attests the right of the author or inventor to recognition of the ownership of his work and to a degree of economic reward. At the same time it serves the cultural and material progress of society as a whole. According to article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author”. In the end, intellectual property protection recognizes the dignity of man and his work that becomes an expression of, and a contribution to, the growth of the individual personality and to the common good.

Economists recognize several mechanisms through which Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) may stimulate economic development: these are interdependent so that a broad view of incentives associated with IPRs is appropriate. They devote much attention to this issue, but evidence to date is fragmented and somewhat contradictory, in part because many of the concepts involved have not yet been measured. A stronger system of protection could either enhance or limit economic growth. While strengthening IPRs has potential for enhancing growth and development in the proper circumstances, it might also raise difficult economic and social costs. Indeed, developing economies could experience net welfare losses in the short run because many of the costs of protection could emerge earlier than the dynamic benefits. This situation explains why it is often difficult to organize a convergence of interests in favor of reform of intellectual property in developing countries.

The adoption of stronger IPRs in developing countries is often defended by claims that this reform will attract significant new inflows of technology, a blossoming of local innovation and cultural industries, and a faster closing of the technology gap between developing and developed countries. It must be recognized, however, that improved IPRs by itself is highly unlikely to produce such benefits.

The increase of benefits deriving to countries from IPRs depends on their ability to absorb and develop technologies and new products. In this context, three issues are critical for development purposes. First, it is clear that the ability to adapt new technologies to local industrial uses is improved if it meets with high levels of education and an adequate qualified human capital. Thus, there are important payoffs in providing access to technical training and secondary or university education. Second, the absorption of foreign technologies to enhance productivity, in a critical way, depends on the Research and Development (R&D) performance of local enterprises. This observation points to the importance of developing an effective technology policy for promoting technical change in domestic enterprises. Such programs could include technology demonstration projects, information sharing through conferences, the encouragement of research, joint ventures, and improved linkages between public research institutes and enterprises.

Third, in many countries a relevant problem is the inability of research institutes to bring their inventions to market in a useful way. Stronger IPRs alone would help in this context, but so also would development contracts between institutes and enterprises with defined ownership shares and increased flexibility for researchers to form new business concerns. Last but not least, it is also important for countries to encourage the development of financial markets in such a way that they become capable of managing the significant risks involved in technology development.

Mr. President,

These few observations want to underline the conviction that the main goal of the international community in developing a fair regime of intellectual property rights should aim toward the good of all, the pursuit of more equitable international relations, especially with regard to poorer and more vulnerable people. Of this goal we are reminded by Pope Benedict’s latest Encyclical Letter: “…in the context of immaterial or cultural causes of development and underdevelopment, we find these same patterns of responsibility reproduced. On the part of rich countries there is excessive zeal for protecting knowledge through an unduly rigid assertion of the right to intellectual property, especially in the field of health care. At the same time, in some poor countries, cultural models and social norms of behaviour persist which hinder the process of development.”

15th Session of the Human Rights Council

Statement by H.E. Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Permanent Representative of the
Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva,
at the Interactive Dialogue on Human Rights
of the 15th Session of the Human Rights Council
Geneva, 16 September 2010

Mr. President,

Please allow me to begin by thanking the Independent Expert for her Report on the issue of human rights obligations related to access to, and delivery of, safe drinking water and sanitation services and the responsibility of the participation of non-State service providers in this context.
The availability of fresh water has now become correlated more obviously to human rights like the right to life and health. While in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) the international community has set itself the goal of halving by 2015 the number of people globally without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, nearly 900 million people today continue to rely on unimproved water sources for their drinking, cooking and other basic needs. Today, approximately 2.5 billion people around the world—approximately half the developing world—are unserved by improved sanitation conditions. As a result, nearly 1.8 million children under the age of 5 die annually from diarrhoeal diseases (such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery) attributable to a lack of safe drinking water and basic sanitation options. Many other human illnesses can be traced back directly to the inadequate supply of fresh water for drinking and basic hygiene .
Many obstacles impede progress toward achieving the proposed goals, not least the inability of administrators to ensure a fair distribution of water resources in the peripheral areas and slums of large urban centres because of lack of funding or technical capacity. Poor people often suffer, not so much from a scarcity of water itself, but rather from the economic inability to access it . According to current and prevalent thinking, water primarily is regarded as a commodity, and its price should be based on the principle of profit. This concept is based on the theory that the cost of everything usable must be covered by the consumer, the one who pulls a utility from its use. Thus, in line with such thinking, even the poorest people should “pay” for access to the fifty liters of drinking water considered by the World Health Organization for minimal daily subsistence. But it is impossible today to talk about "common good", or about respect for fundamental human rights, without taking into account the right to live in a healthy environment. Water is a social, economic and environmental asset whose management must be based on social responsibility, a mentality of ecological behaviour and of solidarity within countries and globally. The dignity and wellbeing of the human person must be the central point of convergence of all issues related to development, environment, and water. It follows that access to water should be available to everyone now and in the future since without it people cannot be actors of their own development. In particular, everyone, including the poor, should be engaged in decisions and policy-making related to water management.
The fight against poverty and hunger requires more and more targeted interventions and solidarity in order to guarantee universal access to water for personal survival, health, and for the development of agriculture and the production of food. Thus the Catholic Church teaches that “by its very nature water cannot be treated as just another commodity among many, and it must be used rationally and in solidarity with others. The distribution of water is traditionally among the responsibilities that fall to public agencies, since water is considered a public good. If water distribution is entrusted to the private sector it should still be considered a public good…. Without water, life is threatened. Therefore, the right to safe drinking water is a universal and inalienable right”.

Mr. President, once again we state our appreciation for the Report presented to the Council. In conclusion, my Delegation would like to underscore the State’s and the private sector’s synergy and responsibility in sub-contracting water and sanitation services and in adopting targeted measures to reach the most marginalized; in developing research facilities for an efficient use of water in urban conglomerates and in agriculture; in controlling the use of chemical fertilizers for their impact on rivers and underground water bearing strata and the consequent dangers on health; in highlighting the cost efficient ways that the management and provision of water resources, water services and sanitation contribute in addressing the Millennium Development Goals.

Thank you, Mr. President.