The Holy See recalls the Durban Declaration condemning racism
Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher sends a video message to mark the 20th anniversary of the Durban Declaration, which sets out measures to combat racism, intolerance and xenophobia.
By Devin Watkins
The United Nations hosted a high-level event in New York on Wednesday, where heads of state and government discussed “reparations, racial justice and equality for people of African descent”.
The event marked the 20e anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action (DDPA), which proposed concrete measures to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance.
Fragile social progress
The Vatican Secretary for Relations with States sent a video message to participants at the high-level meeting of the United Nations, expressing the Holy See’s commitment to fight racial injustice.
“Racism is rooted in the mistaken and evil claim that one human has less dignity than another,” Archbishop Gallagher said in the video message.
He noted that this attitude ignores the fact that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”, as well as the importance of promoting a “spirit of brotherhood”.
As Pope Francis says in Fratelli tutti, racism reveals that “social progress is not as real or final as we think.”
Solidarity overcomes racism
As the high-level meeting focuses on the challenges faced by people of African descent around the world, Archbishop Gallagher expressed his hope that the “Permanent Forum for People of African Descent” will help bring justice and support to people of African descent. victims of racism.
“Many people of African descent around the world are migrants or refugees who, after leaving their homes – or having been forced to leave – face racism and xenophobia, discrimination and intolerance in destination countries, rather than the support they need, ”Bishop Gallagher lamented. .
On the other hand, he said, racism can be overcome by “a culture of encounter, fraternity and solidarity”.
The Durban Declaration, Archbishop Gallagher added, also speaks against violence and intolerance on the basis of religion or belief.
“The disregard for the right to freedom of religion and belief leads to the violation of other human rights,” he said, noting that recent years have seen an increase in religious persecution.
Whole populations are victims of discrimination because the perpetrators enjoy impunity, he lamented.
“Some religious minorities in some areas are even threatened with extinction,” he said, “including Christians who represent the most persecuted group in the world”.
Threat of eugenics
Archbishop Gallagher also pointed to another form of discrimination in the “insidious practice of eugenics”.
“You could say that a eugenic mentality often lurks behind the techniques of artificial procreation and the dark sides of prenatal diagnosis, where the idea that there are human beings of inferior value because of a disability, of their gender. or other traits often leads to the denial of their right to life, ”he said.
The Secretary of State Relations concluded his video message to world leaders by recalling that religion plays an important role in eradicating racism and intolerance.
However, he said, “racism will go away… only when it dies in the hearts of the people”.