Thursday, 11 December 2008

Young Green Info: Universal Declaration of Human Rights Anniversary tainted by the Vatican


On December 10th 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. After the horrors of the World Wars, the Declaration was supposed to be the guarantee that the dignity of humankind would never be attacked and threatened so severely again. The Federation of Young European Greens (FYEG) celebrates today the 60th anniversary of the Declaration and recognises its role in fostering equality and non-discrimination world-wide. However, FYEG is at the same time saddened by the opposition of the Vatican to a UN resolution clearly condemning discrimination against homosexuality.

Marina Barbalata, Co-Spokesperson of FYEG, comments: "It is regrettable that the anniversary of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights is shadowed by the Vatican's opposition to an initiative by France, backed by the European Union, for the UN to issue a declaration condemning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Vatican's reaction to an initiative meant to decriminalise homosexuality was justified in the context of the Catholic church's fear that such a commitment undertaken by the United Nations would put countries under pressure to recognise same-sex marriages. However, such reactions are in clear opposition to Article 20 of the Universal Declaration which states that "Everyone has the right to freedom of association." Furthermore, Article 16 refers to marriage in the following formulation: "Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution." This does not automatically exclude same sex marriages, thus what the Vatican is proposing is a step back from a position on homosexuality valid since 1948."

Marc Gimenez, FYEG Co-Spokesperson continues: "With homosexuality still prohibited in almost 80 countries, some of which are condemning homosexual activity with the death penalty, the Vatican's stance on decriminalising homosexuality is at least shocking. However, we are sadly aware on how Catholic church influences not only politics but people's daily lives still in many European country. We oppose to this intro mission as it is an attack to personal liberties. People have a fundamental right to choose whom they join with and who they love and no religious authority should interfere with that. The fact that this reaction comes at the dawn of the 60th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights is in itself sarcastic and puts to doubt the activity of human rights militants for more than half a century. The Young European Greens strongly urge the Vatican to reconsider its position and the European Union to keep fighting for this new UN-declaration."

Marina Barbalata, Spokesperson of FYEG, + 31645944203
Marc Gimenez, Spokesperson of FYEG, +34600923098

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