PAUL RICHARD GALLAGHER, Secretary for Relations with States and International Organizations for the Holy See, repeated the words of Pope Francis, who said that “the current conflict in Ukraine has made all the more evident the crisis that has long affected the multilateral system, which needs a profound rethinking if it is to respond adequately to the challenges of our time.” He noted a marked tendency by States to impose their own ideas and agenda, calling for dialogue, shared responsibility and cooperation, each in the pursuit of the common good. “Thus, a real reform of the United Nations must favour a reversal of the current priorities, making the UN truly fit for purpose and reviving coordination among States,” he emphasized. Stressing that the conflict in Ukraine has been instrumental to bringing back the elevated threat of nuclear escalation into the discussion, he said that “the use of atomic energy for purposes of war is, today more than ever, a crime not only against the dignity of human beings, but against any possible future for our common home”, while the mere possession itself of nuclear weapons is also immoral.
Turning to the expanding digital galaxy and specifically artificial intelligence, he urged to engage in serious ethical reflection on the use and integration of supercomputer systems and processes in peoples’ daily lives. “This is valid in all situations, also in the development of use of lethal autonomous weapons systems,” he noted, adding that the Holy See supports the establishment of an international organization for artificial intelligence. New technologies should be used to mitigate the planetary crisis of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss, and the urgency of acting now to safeguard the world, he said.
Recalling the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he highlighted the unborn, who are denied the right to come into the world, and violence against Christians, which is on the rise not only in those countries where they are a minority. “Amid natural disasters, severe food security problems and political instability, causing anguish, hardship and uncertainty about the future, the Russian attack on Ukraine remains one of the most painful and bleeding wounds, which instead of healing is widening and deepening,” he stressed. He commended the admirable, ever-renewed commitment of many countries to help battered Ukraine defend its people and its territory but added that this has not been accompanied by an equal effort to find ways in which the confrontation can be overcome. He also described the situations in Syria and Sudan as greatly worrying, urged for dialogue in Nicaragua and stressed the need for talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia. He expressed serious concern about Jerusalem, appealing to the Israelis and Palestinians to open up to sincere dialogue.
The international community must maintain the universality of global multilateral forums and not turn them into “clubs reserved for a few elites...where some are tolerated” if they stay to themselves, a senior Holy See official told the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.
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