Pope Francis reiterates call to relax sanctions at UN General Assembly

In his address to the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Pope Francis reiterated the important of relaxing international sanctions as they make it difficult for States to provide adequate support for their citizens.  

In his remarks, the pontiff urged world leaders to strengthen solidarity and multilateralism, and “to rethink the future of our common home and our common project,” as he stressed that “the pandemic has shown us that we cannot live without one another, or worse still, pitted against one another.”

“We are faced, then, with a choice between two possible paths. One path leads to the consolidation of multilateralism as the expression of a renewed sense of global co-responsibility, a solidarity grounded in justice and the attainment of peace and unity within the human family, which is God’s plan for our world. The other path emphasizes self-sufficiency, nationalism, protectionism, individualism and isolation; it excludes the poor, the vulnerable and those dwelling on the peripheries of life,” he reflected.

United Nations as a workshop for peace in the face of an erosion of multilateralism

In reference to current armed conflicts and nuclear disarmament, he urged to “ask ourselves if the principal threats to peace and security – poverty, epidemics, terrorism and so many others – can be effectively be countered when the arms race, including nuclear weapons, continues to squander precious resources that could better be used to benefit the integral development of peoples and protect the natural environment.”

According to Francis Pope, the present climate of distrust and the erosion of multilateralism ” is all the more serious in light of the development of new forms of military technology, such as lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS) which irreversibly alter the nature of warfare, detaching it further from human agency.”

“Our strife-ridden world needs the United Nations to become an ever more effective international workshop for peace. This means that the members of the Security Council, especially the Permanent Members, must act with greater unity and determination,” he said.

In this regard, he pointed out that ” In this regard, the recent adoption of a global cease-fire during the present crisis is a very noble step, one that demands good will on the part of all for its continued implementation.”

Renovation of international financial architecture

In his address, when reflecting on the social and economic consequences of COVID-19, Pope Francis urged the international community “to make every effort to put an end to economic injustices,” as he called for a reduction of the debt “burdening the balance sheets of the poorest nations.”

” The international community ought to make every effort to put an end to economic injustices (…)  We have a responsibility to offer development assistance to poor nations and debt relief to highly indebted nations (…)  Now is a fitting time to renew the architecture of international finance,” said the pontiff.

Finally, Pope Francis urged to use the UN as a “bridge between peoples.”

“Let us make good use of this institution in order to transform the challenge that lies before us into an opportunity to build together, once more, the future we all desire,” he stressed.

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