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Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Vatican City, 11 June 2013 (VIS) – Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, C.S., Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations and other international organisations in Geneva, addressed the 23rd Session of the Human Rights Council after the Holy See delegation had reviewed the UN Report on Access to Medicines. Archbishop Tomasi's statement points out an “insufficient attention to certain factors cited as 'key elements' by the Special Rapporteur”.

Instead of the legal factors that were the Report's main focus, “the Holy See Delegation found that the Report paid insufficient attention to basic needs of individuals and families, at all stages of the life cycle from conception to natural death.” In order to effectively provide access to medicines, “an integral human development approach that promotes just legal frameworks as well as international solidarity, not only among States, but also among and between all peoples” must be developed. The Holy See noted, with alarm, “the difficulties millions of people face as they seek to obtain minimal subsistence and the medicines they need to cure themselves” and called for “establishing true distributive justice which guarantees everyone adequate care on the basis of objective needs.”

While the prerequisite of States' responsibility in making medicines available is clear, “the strong engagement of non-governmental and religious organizations in providing both medicines and a wide range of treatment and preventive measures to ensure the full enjoyment of the right to health also should have been acknowledged.” Archbishop Tomasi concluded his address with the observation that “optimal facilitation of access to medicine is a complex endeavour and deserves comprehensive analysis and acknowledgement of all factors contributing to its promotion, rather than a more restricted analysis of legal, economic, and political frameworks.“

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