DAILY CATHOLIC THURSDAY May 6, 1999 vol. 10, no. 89
NEWS & VIEWS
RICH NATIONS MUST RESPECT SIGNED AGREEMENTS
Pope denounces attempts to violate Cairo Conference
VATICAN CITY, MAY 5 (ZENIT).- This morning John Paul II publicly expressed his concern over attempts by some countries to violate the commitments adopted by the international community in the Cairo World Conference on Population and Development organized by the United Nations in 1994.
At the end of his audience with 12,000 faithful in the Vatican Paul VI Hall, the Pontiff referred to the informal meeting which is taking place at the U.N. headquarters in New York from May 5-7, to try to overcome the disagreements which emerged during the last week of March among the delegations of the different countries, when it came to writing a joint document reviewing the commitments made at the Cairo summit.
During the March meeting, which was also held in New York, the Holy See insisted on making its voice heard regarding the commitments signed in 1994. Some European delegations, as well as that of the United States, tried to add to the text the so-called "right to reproductive health," whose objective is to introduce abortion and different methods of contraception as a means of controlling population growth. With this measure, the rich nations hope to impose these practices on nations where abortion is illegal. The Vatican received the support of the so-called "Group of 77" countries; in general, these are poor countries.
Already at the Cairo Conference, the Pope said today, "the Holy See insisted on the human person being placed at the center of any development program. This implies that the solution of problems relating to population must respect the dignity of every human being and, at the same time, promote his fundamental rights, among which is, in the first place, the right to life. To this must be added the right to health and education, involving the family in its irreplaceable role as the institution upholding human, spiritual and moral values."
The Pope concluded by insisting that "five years after the international Conference on population and development, the governments must renew their signed commitments to insure a real and lasting human development."
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's) have revealed that some
organizations at this informal U.N. session are placing impediments for the
accreditation of other organizations which are not in agreement with the
official U.N. line. The same thing happened during The Hague meeting in
February, where the participation of NGO's was greatly restricted because
they were not in agreement with the line of the U.N. Population Fund.
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