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Rights of Poor

NEW YORK (CNS): A UN meeting in Geneva to review results of the 1995 World Summit on Social Development and set future goals produced a document generally acceptable though weakened by the normal compromise approach of such agreements, said two members of the Vatican delegation to the session.

Fr Anthony R. Frontiero and Larissa Gray, both staff members at the Vatican’s New York mission to the United Nations, said on July 3 that they were especially pleased by acknowledgment that poor people had a right to the fruits of medical science and by language insisting that AIDS education for youth should involve parents.

They said a Vatican-supported statement on the responsibility of governments for the welfare of migrants proved unsuccessful.

Wealthier countries were unwilling to go as far as the Vatican would have liked on other proposals such as debt reduction or cancellation for aiding the poorer countries, they added.

The Vatican sent a delegation of eight headed by Bishop Diarmuid Martin, who is secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, to the June 26-July 1 UN special session.

The meeting was called to examine progress in implementing the recommendations of the UN social development summit held in 1995 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Bishop Martin told the UN meeting that while humanity had made huge leaps in technology and science, it still had not figured out how to promote sharing for the benefit of all the world’s people.

“We have not yet found the science of adequately sharing, of ensuring that the benefits of progress are equitably made available to all the citizens of the world,” said the bishop.

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