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Letters & Op-Eds - 2000
sunday business post
'Punishing' the Holy See
24 September 2000
Your article "Groups combine to oppose international anti-Vatican campaign" (August 27) misrepresents the motives of The "See Change" Campaign. We do not seek to "punish" the Holy See. We seek to ensure that all religions are treated equally at the UN and, in fact, we recognise the good work that the Holy See does on many issues.
You also make reference to the US House of Representatives' vote in favour of a Republican-sponsored resolution about the Holy See. That resolution is non-binding and the vote was manipulated by the Republican hierarchy to sidestep continued accusations of anti-Catholicism. In any case, due to the bicameral political process in the US, it is meaningless until the Senate also votes, which is unlikely to happen.
The campaign to call for a review of the Vatican's status at the United Nations emerged from the groundswell of opposition to the damage that the Vatican is doing to women's health worldwide. Women die and men and women are infected with HIV/AIDS as a result of Vatican policies at the UN against contraception, abortion and the use of condoms. Our campaign works to save women's lives, something ignored in your article. Moreover, legal opinion confirms our belief that the Holy See is not a state and should not be considered one by the UN. Nor should the Roman Catholic church be treated differently from other religions, as happens now.
Pierre Sane, head of the human rights organisation Amnesty International, recently made reference to the "unholy alliance formed by the Holy See, Iran, Algeria, Nicaragua, Syria, Libya, Morocco and Pakistan [that] has attempted to hold ransom women's human rights" at the UN. We agree, as do the hundreds of organisations and tens of thousands of individuals from more than 80 countries worldwide who support us.
The "See Change" Campaign
This article appeared in the 24 September edition of the Sunday Business Post.