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 15 giugno 2010

99th Session of the International Labour Conference

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 99th Session of the International Labour Conference
Geneva, 10 June 2010

Mr. President,

1. The effects of the financial and economic crisis have globally damaged the welfare of families and individuals. Timid, uneven and uncertain signs of recovery notwithstanding, the impact of this recession has stifled progress in poverty reduction, increased unemployment in developed countries and every household has suffered set-backs in low-income countries. In 2015, 20 million more people in Sub-Saharan Africa, and 53 million more people globally, will find themselves in extreme poverty . While there is general agreement on the need for structural reforms, vested interests must not lay most of the burden on wage-earners, rural people, and already marginalized groups in society. Economic mechanisms without ethical criteria will not lead to constructive solutions.

2. The crisis can open a new perspective on the role of markets and on the role of the State. The food crisis of 2008 has shown that countries lacking basic food supplies could not simply rely on the forces of the market to ensure food for their people. Several export countries responded with protectionism and speculation resulting from the perception of shortage. Countries heavily dependent on food import witnessed serious protests. Thus a certain degree of self-sufficiency and a better regulation of the commodities markets became a logical conclusion.

The 2009 financial crisis has shown that financial markets are not self-regulating. Greed prevented the interruption of a process whose systemic risks had been foreseen by many. Financial measures and the assurance provided by States and Central Banks saved the banking system and avoided financial meltdown but were not capable of preventing the subsequent serious economic crisis that has resulted in a significant increase of unemployment and precariousness and has affected the most vulnerable persons and countries. Another result has been the enormous amount of public debt generated, especially by major advanced economies. In industrialised countries, in coming years, gross public debt will exceed 100 percent of GDP thus raising sustainability issues. Governments, weakened by the level of their debt, feel obliged by the financial markets to reduce it. Public budgets and growth will be affected: taxes will increase, buying power will decrease, and unemployment will grow. The weak economic recovery runs the risk of being jeopardised.

This is a delicate condition for major advanced economies, since the process of fiscal consolidation will constrain economic growth. Recent experience shows that the adjustment coefficient is the level of employment, the buying power of people and their ability to feed, educate, and care for themselves. Justice demands that the suffering of people should not be the coefficient of adjustment of the economic system. While the merits of open markets in the creation of wealth should be acknowledged, some additional and internationally coordinated action, as well as the development of some means of common governance, appear necessary. We need to keep in mind that work is more than wages; it is the means to self-fulfilment and the way to achieve one’s life project.

3. The Delegation of the Holy See fully supports the aim of the ILO to give priority to persons and their work in the search for innovative and dynamic policies aimed at removing structural impediments to the recovery of the economy. The attention to domestic workers and the positive vote taken on a new binding instrument for their protection express preference for the most vulnerable members of society. Domestic workers are doubly at risk. First, they come from the most disadvantaged segments of society with very limited resources for protection. Extreme necessity pushes them to take up any job available, even though, in more than a few cases, conditions at work are very hard. Second, the ambiance of their employment is open to exploitation. Women and girls constitute the majority within this category of workers. Often they lack juridical and social protection, fair remuneration, limits on the amount of hours they are expected to work, a guarantee for a weekly period of rest, safeguards during times of illness or for maternity. When abuses occur, there is no appeal and the only option is to escape and thus to lose salary due as well as employment. On many occasions, within the privacy of the domestic walls, the dignity of domestic workers is violated. Physical and sexual harassment are not uncommon. Racial and religious identities expose these workers, especially women, to heavy discrimination.

If the domestic worker is an immigrant, especially if without proper documentation and/a labour contract, his/her vulnerability is much greater. But we should consider that this is one of the few sectors of the economy where immigrant workers are complementing and not substituting indigenous workers, since typically they accept jobs that the latter are unwilling to assume. In many poor countries, young girls are engaged in domestic work and their own families see their service as a normal contribution to family survival. On the other hand, domestic workers assume a critical role, especially in Western societies, where life-style and demographic changes demand their presence. They become an important presence in the family since they manage the household, care for the elderly and for the children and thus allow mothers and daughters to pursue careers and active roles in society. Another important contribution offered by domestic workers is found in the remittances that they send home and that benefit families and local development. The opportunity and necessity of a new binding norm, an International Convention on Domestic Workers, appears undeniable: it will promote opportune national legislation for their protection, support their rights of association, of collective negotiation, and of union representation. An education campaign already should initiate to make domestic workers, as well as employers, aware of reciprocal duties and rights. This widening horizon on the world of work offers both a challenge and new possibilities, as the social encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI , Caritas in veritate, states:
“…labour unions — which have always been encouraged and supported by the Church —… Looking to wider concerns than the specific category of labour for which they were formed, union organizations are called to address some of the new questions arising in our society…The global context in which work takes place also demands that national labour unions, which tend to limit themselves to defending the interests of their registered members, should turn their attention to those outside their membership, and in particular to workers in developing countries where social rights are often violated. The protection of these workers, …will enable trade unions to demonstrate the authentic ethical and cultural motivations that made it possible for them, in a different social and labour context, to play a decisive role in development.”

4. As part of this widening of horizons in the struggle for a global implementation of decent work, attention should focus on other categories of workers in need of protection: the masses of still unorganized workers, rural workers, and unemployed youth. The rights of unorganized workers are too often ignored, and, as a result, their security in the work place, their protection from unjust firing, and their entitlement to at least a minimum salary are not respected. Rural workers, in particular, are left out of the range of attention. Not always ready to confront market forces because of lack of training or lack of information, due to the current crisis, they risk being deprived of public support for technical capacity-building or for trade. These are badly needed measures responding to readjustment policies that proved to be counter-productive. Thus some of these policies should be revised, and an allowance made for an incremental opening of borders for homogeneous groups of countries, for as long as they can improve their productivity and their capacity to profit from the market. In 92 countries, agriculture represents more than 75% of the GDP; between 2 and 2.5 billion persons derive their income from agriculture. This sector of the economy is a source of work, of food, of social networks, of emancipation of women, and of protection (or degradation) of the environment. By creatively supporting work in this sector, malnutrition and poverty can be reduced and eventually eliminated, and such workers integrated in the global economy.

Finally, child labour and youth unemployment call for a concerted response. More than 215 million children are constrained to work, many in dangerous conditions. The number of unemployed youth has increased by 8.5 million between 2008 and 2009, the largest year-on-year increase in the last 10 years, and by more than 10 million since 2007. Wasted capacities and frustration can have disastrous social consequences for the future.

Mr. President,

5. The economic crisis can become an opportunity. The complexity of the situation makes it difficult to make appropriate choices. If, however, the recovery is comprehensive in its embrace of all workers, renews the tripartite dialogue that is at the core of the ILO mission, and gives priority to people and their talents, then a step forward will be taken in the pursuit of justice by the international community. In this approach, A Global Jobs Pact indeed will reduce the time lag between economic recovery and a recovery with decent work opportunities. If a reduction in military expenses is added to these efforts, rather than the 6 percent increase in such expenses that occurred in 2009, more resources can be channelled toward the recovery of truly decent jobs. Men and women, workers, employers and entrepreneurs, constitute the best resources available; their intelligence, creativity and energy can develop new jobs and sustain innovation if their freedom is not detached from the responsibility to prevent the emergence of financial speculation at the expense of the real economy and of greed destructive of jobs and savings.

In conclusion, good decisions are necessary in order to move toward a post-crisis phase of the globalization of the economy and of work. But only a corresponding “ethical interaction of consciences and minds” will give rise to integral development where the human person is at the centre of labour relations, confident to journey toward a better future.

14th 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 Maternal Mortality Panel of the 14th Session of the Human Rights Council
Geneva, 14 June 2010

Mr. President,

Based on the significant commitment and experience of the Catholic Church in assisting mothers and newborn babies, since the earliest of times, especially through its hospitals and maternity and pediatric clinics, my delegation wishes to express its urgent concerns about the shocking number of maternal deaths that continue to occur – estimated by reliable indicators at 350,000 a year – most especially among the poorest and most marginalized and disenfranchised populations.
The Holy See's approach to Maternal Mortality is holistic, since it gives priority to the rights of mothers and child, both those already born and those awaiting birth in the womb of the mother. Not surprisingly, a strong correlation is revealed between statistics related to Maternal Mortality and those related to Neonatal Death, indicating that many measures aimed at combating maternal mortality, in fact, also contribute to a further reduction of child mortality. Moreover, we should not forget that 3 million babies die annually during their first week of life, another 3 million are stillborn, 2.3 million children die each year during their first year of life.
Mr. President,
Improvements to reduce Maternal Mortality have been made possible due to higher per capita income, higher education rates for women and increasing availability of basic medical care, including "skilled birth attendants". A recent study on Maternal Mortality has suggested that maternal mortality in Africa could be significantly reduced if HIV-positive mothers were given access to antiretroviral medications. The availability of emergency obstetric care, including the provision of universal pre and post-natal care, and adequate transport to medical facilities (when necessary), skilled birth attendants, a clean blood supply and a clean water supply, appropriate antibiotics, and the introduction of a minimum age of 18 years for marriage, are all measures that could benefit both mothers and their children. Most importantly, if the international community wishes to effectively reduce the tragic rates of maternal mortality, respect for and promotion of the right to health and of access to medications must not only be spoken about, but also be put into action, by States as well as by non-governmental organizations and by civil society.
Mr. President,
Policies aimed at combating Maternal Mortality and Child Mortality need to strike a delicate balance between the rights of mother and those of the child, both of whom are rights bearers, the first of which is the right to life. The maternity clinics and hospitals promoted by the Catholic Church do exactly that: they save the lives both of mothers and of child, born and yet-to-be-born.
Thank you Mr. President.

mercoledì 9 giugno 2010

H.E. Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi: 14th 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 General Debate Item 3 of the 14th Session of the Human Rights Council

Geneva, 8 June 2010

Mr. President,
With regard to the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, my delegation wishes to raise additional concerns regarding the need for effective action in order to guarantee Universal Access to medicines and diagnostic tools for all persons. The Special Rapporteur focused on this issue during his Report to the Eleventh Session of this distinguished Council . However, continued vigilance must be maintained in this regard.

As the members of this Council already are well aware, the right to health is universally recognized as a fundamental right. Article 25 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) includes the right to health and medical care within the more general rubric of the right “to enjoy an adequate standard of living.” Article 12.1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), however, directly recognizes the right to enjoy the best physical and mental condition. .
The Committee on Economic and Cultural Rights, in its General Comment No. 14 , moreover, identified the following minimum requirements for States to ensure: (1) the right of access to health care in a non-discriminatory way, (2) access to basic nutritional level, (3) access to housing, basic sanitation and a sufficient supply of drinking water, (4) the supply of essential drugs, (5) an equitable distribution of benefits and health services, and (6) adoption of national strategies to prevent and combat epidemics.

Mr. President, the Catholic Church provides a major contribution to health care in all parts of the world – through local churches, religious institutions and private initiatives, which act on their own responsibility and in the respect of the law of each country – including the promotion of 5,378 hospitals, 18,088 dispensaries and clinics, 521 leprosaria, and 15,448 homes for the aged, the chronically ill, or disabled people. With information coming from these on-the-ground realities in some of the most poor, isolated, and marginalized communities, my delegation is obliged to report that the rights detailed in the international instruments already mentioned are far from being realized.

One major impediment to the realization of these rights is the lack of access to affordable medicines and diagnostic tools that can be administered and utilized in low-income, low-technology settings. Among the disturbing trends and findings reported by the Special Rapporteur are the following: “Diseases of poverty” still account for 50 per cent of the burden of disease in developing countries, nearly ten times higher than in developed countries ; more than 100 million people fall into poverty annually because they have to pay for health care ; in developing countries, patients themselves pay for 50 to 90 per cent of essential medicines ; nearly 2 billion people lack access to essential medicines .

One group particularly deprived of access to medicines is that of children. Many essential medicines have not been developed in appropriate formulations or dosages specific to pediatric use. Thus families and health care workers often are forced to engage in a “guessing game” on how best to divide adult-size pills for use with children. This situation can result in the tragic loss of life or continued chronic illness among such needy children. For example, of the 2.1 million children estimated to be living with HIV infection , only 38% were received life-saving anti-retroviral medications at the end of 2008 . This treatment gap is partially due to the lack of “child friendly” medications to treat the HIV infection.

Thus the Committee on the Rights of the Child has declared: “The obligations of States parties under the Convention extend to ensuring that children have sustained and equal access to comprehensive treatment and care, including necessary HIV-related drugs … on a basis of non-discrimination. ”

My delegation is well aware of the complexities inherent in the intellectual property aspects related to the issue of access to medicines. These considerations, including the flexibilities available to applying the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, are well documented in the 2009 Report of the Special Rapporteur. We further recognize that serious efforts already have been undertaken to implement the Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property, established in 2008 by the 61stWorld Health Assembly. However, the intense debates recently pursued at the 63rd World Health Assembly demonstrate that the international community has not yet succeeded in its aim to provide equitable access to medicines and indicate the need for further creative reflection and action in this regard.

Mr. President, my delegation urges this Council to renew its commitment as a key stakeholder in efforts to assert and safeguard the right to health by guaranteeing equitable access to essential medicines. We do so with a firm conviction that “… treatment should be extended to every human being” and as an essential element of “the search for the greatest possible human development… and with a strong belief that “[t]his ethical perspective [is] based on the dignity of the human person and on the fundamental rights and duties connected with it …”

H.E. Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi: (WTO)-Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) 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 World Trade Organization (WTO)-Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) Council

Geneva, 8 June 2010

Mr. President,
I join previous speakers and congratulate you on your election.

1. On the issue of article 27.3(b), Patentable subject matter, the delegation of the Holy See wishes to provide some comments and raise some additional concerns.
2. Article 27.3(b) allows Members to exclude from patentability plants and animals, but not micro-organisms, and allows Members to exclude from patentability biological processes which are essential for the production of plants and animals, but not non-biological or microbiological ones. The rationale behind this provision is to reinforce the international protection of patents and other Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) on non-biological and microbiological life developments by linking such protection to the general legal framework on trade of other goods and services. Such protection, however, should be promoted fairly and in full accord with the development objectives established by article 7 of TRIPS, with the provisions of article 8 related to the political freedom of States to protect public health and nutrition, and to promote the public interest in sectors of vital importance to their socio-economic and technological development, and with provisions of article 27.2, which allows members to “exclude from patentability inventions, the prevention within their territory of the commercial exploitation of which is necessary to protect ordre public or morality, including to protect human, animal or plant life or health or to avoid serious prejudice to the environment”.
3. The patenting of life forms could sometimes serve as a tool to support biotechnologies that are problematic both from an ethical point of view and from the point of view of a “development-friendly” intellectual property system.
4. In relation to human life, article 4 of the Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights states that "The human genome in its natural state shall not give rise to financial gains"[1] while article 21 of the Council of Europe Convention for the protection of human rights and dignity of the human being with regard to the application of biology and medicine, that: "The human body and its parts shall not, as such, give rise to financial gains”[2]. In the same regard, the United Nations Declaration on Human Cloning[3] acknowledges the ethical concerns that certain applications of rapidly developing life sciences may raise with regard to human dignity, human rights and the fundamental freedoms of individuals, and calls States to adopt all measures necessary to protect adequately human life in the application of life sciences. Thus, the TRIPS agreement, other WTO rules, and all other international, regional and bilateral trade and IPR agreements should not reduce ability of States to govern the aspects of IPR related to human life and dignity.

5. Mere commercial control of production and distribution of new life forms could affect both food security and development prospects of poor countries. Private monopolistic rights should not be imposed over those biological resources, from which the basic food and medicine requirements of human life are derived. An inclusive approach to IPR should not ignore the major economic, environmental, and ethical concerns about the patenting of life, since such action would exert a negative impact on consumer rights, biodiversity conservation, environmental protection, indigenous rights, scientific and academic freedom, and, ultimately, the economic development of many developing countries insofar as it depends on new technologies.

6. In 2007, the United Nations adopted a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which recognizes, in Article 31, that "indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, as well as the manifestations of their sciences, technologies and cultures, including human and genetic resources, seeds, medicines, knowledge of the properties of fauna and flora, oral traditions, literatures, designs, sports and traditional games and visual and performing arts" and the "right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property aver such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions". When opportune and feasible, the WIPO/GRTKF developments and conclusions should be acknowledged within the context of the TRIPS rules.

7. Among agents of development, there is a significant concern about patenting of varieties of seeds that are genetically engineered. An unlimited application of Patent procedures to biological, scientific, and technical developments could be harmful to both traditional and modern methods of research and production, especially with regard to new varieties that are beneficial in the developing world. Concentration of seed ownership could threaten the autonomy of local farmers, who are forced to buy seeds every season from a handful of companies with whom they have little power to negotiate competitive prices. Ownership of Intellectual Property Rights to seeds could seriously jeopardize the practice of saving seeds in order to trade or replant them during the next season. most small and medium-scale farmers routinely save seeds, and an important portion of world population depends on the continued financial stability of farmers who do so. The International Community should render due attention to concerns about the concentration of technology and resources in food production by a small group of entities and companies that are driven by purely commercial goals. Special attention also should be given to intellectual property protection of seeds discovered by individual farmers – both from developed or developing countries – and to the rights of indigenous people to the traditional use and ownership of those plants that are essential to their livelihoods and cultures.

8. The main goal of the international community should be to promote the common good. Moreover, international trade rules and negotiations should aim toward the good of all, especially of those people who are poor and vulnerable, should ensure both the means for human sustenance, such as food, water, medicines, health environment, etc., and the means for the cultural, social and spiritual development of people.

Discussions about the international protection of intellectual property rights and about the scope and consequences of article 27, 3.b, also should be guided, in all sincerity, by the promotion of the common good and of human dignity, as it is rightly stated in the Declaration, the Final Act, the Preamble and the Annex 1C of the Agreement of Marrakech.

mercoledì 2 giugno 2010

H.E. Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Permanent Representative of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva

Intervention by H.E. Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Permanent Representative of the
Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva
Urgent Debate on the Israeli raid on the flotilla sailing to Gaza
14th Session of the Human Rights Council
Geneva, 1 June 2010

Mr. President,
With profound sadness the Holy See delegation notes that the unsettled situation in the Middle East remains a source of tragic events. The latest loss of life caused by the use of force in the Israeli attack in international waters against the humanitarian flotilla of ships sailing to the Gaza Strip unfortunately adds another link in the long chain of conflicts and confrontations that produce suffering and tensions for the Palestinian population and the population of Israel.
To the families of the new victims goes our solidarity and condolences. It is hoped that recent and past victims may encourage a wide understanding that violence does not lead to enduring peace, but that dialogue, respect of rights and mutual acceptance do.
To make an effective dialogue possible, a full, impartial and transparent investigation into the latest incident, based upon international law and international humanitarian law, is necessary.
While all the facts are ascertained, it is clear that the humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza are not met and all parties involved and the international community have a responsibility to cooperate so that the fundamental human rights of those persons are implemented.
As the Holy See has previously stated, it is always opposed to the use of violence from whatever side it may come. Violence makes even more difficult the search for peaceful solutions, the only ones that can build a future of constructive coexistence.
My delegation calls once again upon all parties involved to come to a durable solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through negotiation, leading to a two-State solution, with Israel and an independent Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security.
Thank you Mr. President.

.E. Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi,

Intervention 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 and Foreign Debt, Item 3
14th Session of the Human Rights Council
Geneva, 2 June 2010

Mr. President,
Let me start by thanking the independent expert for his report presented to the Council. The reports draws attention to the negative impacts of “vulture fund” activities on international debt relief efforts and on the capacity of indebted poor countries that have benefitted from debt relief to create the necessary conditions for the realization of human rights. It also examines the measures and proposals designed to combat these speculative investors.

The sharp contraction of the global economy that began in the second half of 2008 and accelerated into the first quarter of 2009 doesn’t appear to be slowing down. The economic situation is still fragile and prospects are still uncertain in all regions of the world. The financial crisis was harsher in the developed countries and consequently its effects have been felt most severely there, but the subsequent collapse of aggregate demand in those countries is still working its way through the global economy and in particular on the Least Developed Countries. The international community cannot ignore this fact; while reaffirming the principle that debts must be repaid, ways must be found that do not compromise the “fundamental right of peoples to subsistence and progress” .The economy is not above the priority of human rights since it is at the service of the human person and the common good.

The voluntary nature of international debt relief schemes has created opportunities for vulture funds to acquire defaulted sovereign debt at vastly reduced prices and then seek repayment of the full-face value of the debt through litigation, seizure of assets or political pressure. The goal of such activities is to obtain high returns at bargain prices regardless of the ethical consequences of such actions. The so-called vulture fund activities complicate sovereign debt restructuring by causing inequitable burden sharing among creditors, and undermine trade and investment relations of the countries that they target.

The debt of the developing countries must be placed in a broader context of economic, political, human rights and technological relations concerns as well as of international collaboration in pursuing the objectives of the common good. This interdependence calls for a new and more comprehensive concept of solidarity which respect the equal dignity of all peoples. Solidarity implies an awareness and acceptance of co-responsibility for the causes and the solutions relative to international debt. Co-responsibility will help to create or restore relations based on trust between nations (creditors and debtors) and between the various actors (political authorities, commercial banks, international organizations) for cooperation in the search of solutions. Thus mutual trust is an indispensable value which must be constantly renewed.

While we support the solution proposed in the report, our delegation would like to ask the independent expert what form of State control and preventive measures in the financial market could impede the emergence of manipulative strategies that damage the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries(HIPCs).