The pontiff expressed concern about fundamental human rights violations.
Pope Francis, during his annual “State of the World” speech he asked all nations to help in supporting a legally binding prohibition on nuclear weapons. He also asked for their support when it is time to discuss matters for easing the Korean peninsula tensions. The pontiff repeated his earlier call to keep intact Jerusalem's “status quo.” The last appeal was made after President Donald J. Trump of the United States took the decision to recognize the ancient metropolis as the capital of Israel.

Pope Francis dedicated the speech he made to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The landmark declaration turns 70 years old in 2018. The UN General Assembly is scheduled to celebrate the occasion.

During his speech, which lasted about 50 minutes, the pontiff cautioned there has been a movement to create a number of “new rights” which are found to oppose each other. These rights are also at odds with traditional cultures and their values of a number of countries. These rights, ironically, neglect actual concerns. Francis said even after so many years of signing the universal declaration, it is extremely painful to observe that violation of fundamental rights continues even today.

Envoys of more than 180 nations heard the pope's plea. The speech came a day before South Korea and North Korea are slated to hold discussions about the participation of North Korea in Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. A few diplomats regard this event as a possible avenue for a number of discussions on varied topics like divided families and a host of humanitarian issues. Matters came to the fore when Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, claimed that he has his finger on a nuclear button and will press it if matters come to a head. President Trump, via social media, responded in kind, saying that the United States is a much more powerful country.

Pope Francis echoed words uttered by his predecessor Pope John XXII at a time when the cold war was in full swing, “Nuclear weapons must be banned.” He expressed apprehensions that a nuclear war may start accidentally. He noted that the Vatican itself was one of 122 countries which consented to a treaty created by the UN to ban prohibit nuclear weapons. The pope requested a wide-ranging and calm debate on the disarmament issue.

Resources

Follow the Conversation on Twitter