“Protect human rights, even in war on terror, Pope insists”
Human rights must always be protected, even during wartime, Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) argues in his annual message for the World Day of Peace. The Holy Father specifies that international human-rights standards must be applied to the war against terrorism.
“The painful case of Lebanon and the new shape of conflicts, especially since the terrorist threat has created new forms of violence, demands that the international community reaffirm international humanitarian law and apply it to all present-day situations of armed conflict, including those not currently covered by international law,” the Pope writes.
The “scourge of terrorism” has forced nations to face different sorts of conflict, the statement observes, involving enemies who obey no moral principles. In response to this situation, the Pope says, “states cannot fail to recognize the need to establish clearer rules, to counter effectively the dramatic decline that we are witnessing.” As things stand, he notes, the standard of international law “has not been consistently implemented in certain recent situations.”
Is he talking about the United States and the War on Terror? Some will argue that he is criticizing the US’ conduct in capturing, imprisoning, and interrogating (alleged) terrorists.
However, he doesn’t just talk about terrorism and the war on terror (although that’s mainly what you’ll hear about the message). He also brings up religious freedom, the right to life, equality of the sexes, euthanasia and abortion, and other threats to the human person. The full text of the 14-page document entitled The Human Person is on the Vatican web site.
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