17 June 2008


A draft protocol being considered by the UN Human Rights Council will effectively "fill a gap" in the international human rights system, says the Holy See's permanent observer at the UN offices in Geneva, according to Zenit (a newsagency specializing in coverage of events of interest to the church.)

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi made his comments to a working group of the 8th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, which is discussing a draft of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The protocol would establish a mechanism that would allow victims of economic, social and cultural rights violations to submit a complaint to the United Nations, as can be done already in the case of most UN treaties and conventions.

Adoption of the protocol would be a step towards addressing the perception (particularly in developed western countries) that economic, social and cultural rights were 'second-rate human rights' in comparison with civil and political rights – a perception that has been a source of friction between nation states in the past.

"The universal value of human dignity requires the promotion and protection of all human rights without distinction of any kind," Archbishop Tomasi said.

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