Archbishop Gallagher urges UN states to join efforts for peace in Ukraine
By Sr. Nina Benedikta Krapić, VMZ
Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Vatican’s Secretary for the Relations with States and International Organizations, spoke at an open debate of the United Nations Security Council on peace and security in Ukraine, held in New York, on 20 September.
The Archbishop noted that Ukraine is defending its sovereignty and the inviolability of its internationally recognised borders, which are the same values promoted at UN. However, he said, in the “cruel and senseless war against Ukraine”, we are witnessing that the highest price is paid by civilian, children, young people, and the elderly.
War ‘infiltrating human hearts’
Archbishop Gallagher said the “great evil” of war is expanding beyond the Ukrainian borders, “not only covering with its thick shadow Europe, but also other continents”.
War, he added, is “infiltrating human hearts, making them containers of a ‘logic of war’”, recalling Pope Francis’s words that the world is living through a third world war ‘fought piecemeal’.
“If this war is not stopped and peace is not sought at every turn, the whole world risks plunging into even deeper crises,” said Archbishop Gallagher.
He stated that the solution not only regards Ukraine, but the entire international community, highlighting that the time has come to ask ourselves some of Pope Francis’ questions: “What am I doing today for the Ukrainian people? Am I doing something?”
He urged all UN Member States, and especially those of this Security Council, to join efforts in the search for a just and lasting peace for Ukraine.
Archbishop Gallagher expressed that the Holy See is close to Ukraine, fully upholds its territorial integrity, and continues to engage in humanitarian initiatives, while urging all parties to be courageous artisans of peace.
Pandemic prevention meeting
Separately, Archbishop Gallagher was also present at the High-level Meeting on Pandemic Prevention, held on 20 September.
In his speech, the Archbishop recalled the good will and dedication at all levels of government and spheres of society in the effort to swiftly develop, produce, and distribute therapeutics and vaccines for Covid-19.
He expressed the Holy See’s concern for people in low-income countries, noting that people in those countries have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine at about half of the rate in developed nations.
He recalled the importance of global solidarity and the need to prioritize universal access to health technologies, particularly for the most vulnerable.
Different approach to future pandemics
Future pandemics require a developmental approach, reflecting the deep links between poverty and poor health, said Archbishop Gallagher.
He noted that all trustworthy responses to health emergencies must respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of opinion, and expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion or belief.
Archbishop Gallagher spoke about the importance of sharing scientific information and know-how at international level.
On that point, he highlighted the role of international organizations such as the World Health Organization in efforts the coordinate and build trust among countries.
The Archbishop recalled Pope Francis’ statement that “the greatest lesson we learned from Covid-19 was the realization that we all need one another [… and] that none of us can be saved alone.”