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Monday, April 20, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 19 APR 2009 (VIS) - Today at Castelgandolfo, after praying the Regina Coeli, the Pope expressed his best wishes to "our brothers and sisters of the Eastern Churches who, following the Julian Calendar, celebrate Easter today. For all of them, may the risen Lord renew the light of faith and bring abundance of joy and peace", he said.

  The Holy Father then went on to mention the forthcoming review of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance held in Durban, South Africa, in 2001. The review conference is due to begin tomorrow in Geneva, Switzerland.

  "It is an important initiative", he said, "because even today, despite the lessons of history, such deplorable phenomena still exist. The Durban Declaration recognises that 'all peoples and individuals form a human family rich in its diversity. They have contributed to the progress of civilisation and of the cultures which constitute the shared heritage of humankind. ... The promotion of tolerance, of pluralism and of respect can lead to a more inclusive society'. On the basis of these affirmations, what is required is firm and substantial action, at both the national and international level, to prevent and eliminate all forms of discrimination and intolerance. What is needed above all is a vast programme of education to exalt the dignity of individuals and protect their fundamental rights. For her part, the Church reiterates that only recognition for the dignity of man, created in the image and likeness of God, can constitute a sure foundation for such an undertaking. Indeed, it is this shared origin that gives humankind its shared destiny, which should arouse in everyone a strong sense of solidarity and responsibility. I express my sincere hopes that the delegates present at the Geneva conference may work together in a spirit of dialogue and acceptance to put an end to all forms of racism, discrimination and intolerance, thus taking a fundamental step towards affirming the universal value of the dignity of man and his rights, in a context of respect and justice for all individuals and peoples".

  This evening Benedict XVI returned to the Vatican at the end of his post-Easter rest period at Castelgandolfo.
ANG/RACISM DISCRIMINATION/...                VIS 20090420 (380)

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