By Matthew Fowler
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The need to recognize women as having
equal worth as men and allow them to fully exercise their human rights is
increasingly urgent due to the “resurgence of divisions in today’s world,”
a top Vatican official told the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.
“An increased fragmentation of social relations in our
multicultural societies, with spontaneous acts and words of racism and
xenophobia, social and racial discrimination, and political exploitation of
differences, is evident in everyday experiences,” said Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, Vatican
observer to U.N. agencies in Geneva.
During a Sept. 25 speech regarding the
impact of racial discrimination and intolerance on the human rights of women, the archbishop explained that women are “too often undervalued”
and vulnerable to discrimination, not only when they are part of an ethnic,
religious or linguistic minority, but for simply being women.
He said that women provide “an irreplaceable value in
political, economic and social life,” and he emphasized the need to
eliminate any form of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related
intolerance toward women.
He told the council that recognizing the equal dignity and
fundamental rights of all people is not enough. Legislation should be coupled
with education — at school and in homes — for shaping minds and forming consciences
that recognize differences as a richness and reject all forms of racism, he
He also called on government agencies, the media and others to
avoid stereotyping minorities, saying they “must join the rest of society
in upholding human dignity.”
“To overcome the
moral bankruptcy of prejudice, it is essential to put in place a real
solidarity at the social, national and international level, founded on the
recognition of everyone as having equal human worth,” the archbishop said.
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