The un and the "responsibility to protect"

On September 13-16, 2005, the UN Annual General Assembly Meeting was held in NewYork. This year it drew a large participation of Heads of State and Government at the UN glass building on the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the Organization, established on June 26, 1945.

Speaking to the Assembly, Cardinal  Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State expressed his agreement on the proposal suggested by many to update the UN Charter.

Over the years, the United Nations Organization has made positive contributions at the service of humanity, Cardinal Sodano said. However, as upon every human undertaking, time has taken its toll on the UN and now it needs to be renewed to respond to the great challenges of the present day. It is desirable, therefore, that the individual States show their strong determination to undertake the institutional reform of the UN, a reform that “responds to the real needs of our people rather than the balances of power….that is capable of taking resolutions and then enforcing them”.

In particular, the Secretary of State reminded that the Holy See has always been interested in and supported the long history of UN operations and would support the creation of a body which would be able to bring peace to those countries that are suffering from conflicts. This would be a Peace building Commission intended to “design and implement an ambitious strategy to overcome those elements of ethnic rivalry which give rise to conflict and which would reignite them in the future”

This conflict-prevention project, Cardinal Sodano stressed, is to be seen within the framework of  the wider “Responsibility to protect” concept, a very important political and juridical principle, based on fundamental values such as the dignity of each individual, developed progressively in the 60 years of the United Nations’ existence.

“Before this reform of the United Nations, the Holy See asks that the States have the courage to continue their discussions on the application and practical consequences of the “Responsibility to protect” principle, in order to settle those situations in which national authorities either cannot or will not protect their populations in the face of internal or external threats”.

To conclude his speech, Card. Angelo Sodano  turns to the important question of development. Over the past years, he said, much progress has been made, for instance, in setting up new development aid mechanisms; however much more must be done to reach an economic and financial mobilization of solidarity. Indeed, “this must include a debt-relief solution for the poorest countries and also for those middle-income countries with foreign debts problems, along with relaunching public development aid and a generous opening of markets towards the most impoverished countries”.