Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the Human
Rights Council in Geneva on March 5 attended a meeting on freedom of
religion of belief.
The Holy See is reiterating its advocacy of the universal and unbiased application of the fundamental right to freedom of religion or belief saying it is the “litmus test of all other human rights”. . .
. . . The Holy See diplomat observed that increasing calls to restrict the right of conscientious objection, indicate that some politicians and even some quarters of international agencies, forgetting their nature and mandate, are still uncomfortable with the right of freedom of conscience and belief. . . [Full text]
The United Nations Human Rights Committee has been accused of elevating individual freedom above moral considerations after recently including abortion and assisted suicide among the ‘human rights’ that should be protected by states.
The committee’s ‘General Comment’ on the right to life, issued at the end of October, argued for the decriminalisation of abortion and the removal of restrictions that could subject women or girls to ‘physical or mental pain’ if they are unable to terminate their pregnancy. . .
‘States parties should not introduce new barriers and should remove existing barriers that deny effective access by women and girls to safe and legal abortion, including barriers caused as a result of the exercise of conscientious objection by individual medical providers,’ it said. . .
On assisted suicide, the committee stated that where this was legal, ‘robust’ legal safeguards should be in place to protect patients from abuse. . . [Full text]
Thomas D. Williams
The Human Rights Committee of the United Nations has censured Italy for failing to provide ready access to abortion throughout the country due to a “high number of physicians” who refuse to carry out the procedure for reasons of conscience.
In its recently released report on Italy (2017), the UN Committee specifically names conscience objection as an obstacle to insuring the availability of abortions throughout the predominantly Catholic nation.
In a section devoted to “voluntary termination of pregnancy,” the Committee notes its concerns over “reported difficulties in accessing legal abortions owing to the high number of physicians who refuse to perform abortions for reasons of conscience and their manner of distribution across the country.” . . .[Full text]