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Reports and Working Papers

The Caritas in Veritate Foundation produces 'Working Papers' for the use of Catholic representatives in Geneva (Missions of the Holy See and Order of Malta, Catholic-inspired NGOs) to integrate within their strategies for their work negotiating and advocating for Catholic positions at the UN. Twice a year the foundation publishes a report on a given topic we believe is important and relevant to the international discussion under way at the UN in Geneva. These reports are commissioned from highly respected research institutions. We then present, for discussion and feedback, an initial first draft of the report to the Catholic representatives in Geneva. Incorporating this feedback from Catholic representatives currently working at the UN, we then produce the end result: a published Working Paper of the Caritas in Veritate Foundation.

International Catholic Organizations and Catholic Inspired NGOs. Their contribution to the building of the international community. more >>

Working Paper I. In a series of short articles, the working paper looks at the renewed mission and role of Catholic-inspired NGOs in the drafting of international law and culture at the UN in Geneva. As the international scene keeps changing so does the way in which Catholics contribute to it. The working paper explains this evolution and highlights the challenges it will have to overcome in the next decades.

    Full Text     Editorial     Introduction to Church Texts

Which Path to Religious Freedom? A Catholic Perspective on International Affairs more >>

Working Paper II. Religious freedom is actually one of the best protected human rights in international law. Why then does it also remain one of the most frequently and widely denied? It seems that, despite all the legal instruments, the minimal protection of religious freedom has still not been achieved in most countries. This Caritas in Veritate Working Paper tries to look closely at the question from the Christian, Catholic perspective. Our report 'Religious Freedom in Domestic Politics and International Affairs' and the parallels it proposes with the most recent documents of the Magisterium on this issue make up for a serious and far reaching reading on religious freedom.

    Full Text     Editorial     Introduction to Church Texts

Patents on Genetic Resources? A Catholic Perspective for the World Intellectual Property Organization more >>

Working Paper III. Today at the World Intellectual Property Organization negotiations are being held that could, if there was the political will, establish a new international intellectual property legal instrument requiring that patents that start life from the contributions of poor indigenous traditional communities be only awarded if procedures designed to benefit these communities have been complied with. This study argues the case from the perspective of the Catholic Church that developed countries should join developing countries in a spirit of solidarity to embrace the changes being proposed by the latter to the international patent system, seeing these changes as advancing the ultimate purpose of an international intellectual property regime, namely serving the universal common good and not just private or national interests.

    Full Text     Editorial     Introduction to Church Texts

Beyond the Financial Crisis: Towards a Christian Perspective for Action more >>

Working Paper IV. The financial crisis and its many developments have brought to the forefront a sea change most people were unaware of in 2008. The financial economy had from the mid-1980s overtaken the real economy and expanded so much to become pervasive. All kinds of goods and commodities are transformed into financial assets or securities and sold on global exchanges. Especially debts—consumer credit, mortgages, credit cards, etc.—were appealing. Thus, over the last three decades financial assets became increasingly and silently part of our everyday life. So much so, that a total collapse of financial markets would actually be akin to a reboot of our way of life and of most of our institutions.

This working paper addresses this change and gives a well-developed and informed understanding of how we came to this. But most of it is dedicated to another point: which path is open today out of the crisis? What lies beyond the crisis? The return to 'business as usual'? Have we learned nothing?

Financial markets are not evil per se. They do have a social function, but must work for the Common Good if they want to earn to it. What does this concretely mean? Drawing upon Catholic Social Teaching, Paul Dembinski and Simona Beretta reassert forgotten truth and explore new and challenging perspectives.

    Full Text     Editorial     Introduction to Church Texts

Creating a Future - Family as the Fabric of Society more >>

Working Paper V. The family is both self-evident and complex. Everyone is born, lives and dies in the context of family relationships. That is a given. Yet this truly universal human experience has taken different forms throughout cultures and history. That is the complexity. The Catholic Church's position is that these particular forms, however complex, do not impede our ability to recognize a certain number of permanent features that hold true to all forms of family life. This similarly applies to the idea that human dignity is always equal however different each individual may be from the others.

The Working Paper investigates how adopting a family perspective can add precious information to the way migration, poverty, and business are approached by the international community. The present approach at the UN usually focuses on individuals, overlooking the facts that migration flows mostly occur along family relationships, that family is the most important network for mitigating poverty worldwide and that good business practices owe a great deal to family values.

    Full Text     Editorial     Introduction to Church Texts

Nuclear Deterrence. An Ethical Perspective more >>

Working Paper VI. The Caritas in Veritate Foundation is pleased to present our sixth working paper, wherein we explore the ethics of nuclear weapon possession and examine, in particular, the Church's position on the question of deterrence.

Navigating the grave risks associated with nuclear weapons is a top priority for our time. Over the last two years there has been an increased focus on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear arms, resulting in a renewed call to ban their use and engage in disarmament. Throughout these discussions, the question of keeping nuclear weapons to dissuade foreign aggression - the most common argument used to justify nuclear possession - has not been extensively addressed.

This working paper seeks to reassess the question of nuclear deterrence in light of the most recent discourse on nuclear weapon use. We attempt to undercut the assumption that nuclear deterrence can be judged independently from nuclear use, and we argue that it no longer functions as an instrument that allows for disarmament; rather, it has become an obstacle toward achieving that goal. Consistent with recent church teaching, this paper concludes that the deterrence position lacks a proper moral foundation. Essentially, nuclear disarmament is not an option but a moral duty. It is time for abolition.

    Full Text     Editorial     Introduction to Church Texts

Death and Dignity: New Forms of Euthanasia more >>

Working Paper VII. The Caritas in Veritate Foundation is pleased to present our seventh working paper, wherein we explore the catholic perspective on the human right to a dignified death.

The emerging vocabulary of a human "right" to a dignified death is discreetly rising in UN texts and reports, establishing its terms as "non-opposed language". Over time, this might become "consensual language".

However, the notion of inherent and universal dignity is one of the corner stones of the Human Rights system. Dignity does not change or alter with illness or age. If inherent, it is not qualifiable. To speak plainly, there is nothing dignified in assisted suicide. The killing of another human being is always a tragedy. In all UN texts, dignity is supposed to be objective, universal and undeniable, not linked to the actual capacity of an individual to perform autonomous acts.

Yet, the push for recognition of legal forms of euthanasia at the national level is quickly transforming the fundamental assumption of inherent human dignity. This is not the road forward. This is not progress, but a regression, a loss of humanity, a painful crawling backwards in term of human rights. This working paper argues from three different perspectives – legal, philosophical and theological – the reasons we oppose such a move. It shows what is at stake and why we should avoid walking down the road towards the recognizing of a human right to "dignified death".

    Full Text     Editorial     Introduction to Church Texts

Water and Human Rights more >>

Working Paper VIII. The Caritas in Veritate Foundation is pleased to present our eighth working paper, wherein we explore the catholic perspective on the human right to water. Water is an essential element in all aspects of life. Safe drinking water is indispensable to sustain life and health, and they are fundamental to the dignity of all. However, at the present time, almost 2 billion people are forced to live without a sufficient amount of water for their domestic or personal use. Water scarcity and deprivation is experienced most dramatically by those living in poverty, and often in the poorest countries. However, the concept of "family of nations" should remind us that responsibility for those who are poor rests, in particular, with those who enjoy a richer lifestyle. The right to water is a basic human right and affects everyone; it is a source of great suffering in our common home. In the last decades, the crucial role of water in development has been recognized by the International Community and the issue of water has become a top priority. There seems to be common agreement that the survival of humanity and all species on earth depends, to a great degree, on the availability of potable water. Such access is the key to life with dignity and to promoting and upholding human rights. Looking at the work done over the last years, the International Community is called to continue its action in finding practical solutions capable of surmounting selfish concerns that prevent everyone from exercising this fundamental right. In achieving the 2030 Agenda, water concerns of the poor become the concerns of all in a prospective of solidarity. Water needs to be given the central place it deserves in the framework of public policy and thus water management should be based on a participatory approach, involving users, planners and policy makers at all levels.

    Full Text     Editorial     Introduction to Church Texts

The Humanization of Robots and the Robotization of the Human Person more >>

Working Paper IX. The Caritas in Veritate Foundation is pleased to present our nineth working paper. Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) are a relatively new subject of discussion at the United Nations. In this working paper we differentiate four types of robots: controlled, supervised, autonomous and innovative robots, thus making it possible to move forward by further restricting and clarifying what the usual terminology describes as "appropriate" or "meaningful" human supervision. In particular, innovative LAWS raise a variety of perplexing legal and ethical issues, since a machine is a complex set of circuits that can never become a truly morally responsible agent. Technical progress in the military field is advancing at a rapid pace. It has not been accompanied, however, by an ethical and legal framework capable of successfully facing the challenges of today's world. Vital decisions, which must be taken by human persons, cannot be delegated to objects. From this point of view, LAWS and any form of highly innovative armed robots are a contradiction to this requirement.

While ways of intrusively augmenting the performance of soldiers have existed for a long time, it is the elimination of an absolute reference to the human nature that is once again problematic. Our overarching ethical criticism rests fundamentally on a dehumanization and de-responsibilization of the action of the human agent. Eventually, the difference between soldiers and their equipment is erased and they become equipment themselves. Effectively, they lose their freedom of decision. We need to be careful that augmentation does not transform soldiers into unconscientious "cyber puppets".

One of the objectives of this publication is to provoke a debate to develop an informed position in order to establish a common understanding of LAWS and augmented soldiers since they have implications and consequences on the entire human family. Therefore, the "ethical check list" outlined in this paper could be food for thought. This profound attention to the human person, this respect for his/her own limitations, considered as assets, could lead to the establishment of a framework underpinning future discussions concerning the evaluation of these new military technologies, without disregarding those advances in science and technology that could guarantee health, well-being and peace.

    Full Text     Editorial     Introduction to Church Texts

Rethinking Labour - Ethical Reflections on the Future of Work more >>

Working Paper X. The Caritas in Veritate Foundation is pleased to present our tenth working paper. Recent decades have witnessed the consolidation of a global economic system strongly characterised by exclusion and inequality as a result of a largely excessive and misplaced trust in the omnipotence of the markets. Today, the distortions and dysfunctions of the free market economy tend to adversely affect the lives of individuals and communities more than ever before. Consequently, work itself, together with its dignity, is increasingly at risk of losing its value as a "good" for the human person and becoming merely a means of exchange within asymmetrical social relations. This calls us to rethink and reconsider what labour is and what it means for the economy, society, policy- and decision-makers and the human being, as presented in the ILO's Centenary Initiative on the Future of Work.

By integrating the human dimension, the centrality of human dignity, and the common good within discussions on the future of work, this present paper intends to find answers to some of the current concerns and questions raised: Can we develop and improve new policies to ensure decent work for all? Does the youth have a fair chance in the world of work? What are the implications on the labour market due to the record levels of international migration? How can we put technology at the service of the human being? How can digitalisation contribute to more and better jobs, higher incomes and working standards?

The crucial role played by work finds a consistent recognition in the Christian tradition and offers us a guide to "rethink labour" by not only including the economic component but, more importantly, the social dimension.

    Full Text     Editorial     Introduction to Church Texts

Universal Access to Medicines - Ethical Reflections on Ending Pediatric HIV more >>

Working Paper XI. The Caritas in Veritate Foundation is pleased to present our eleventh working paper. The right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is a basic human right. In the last decades, despite formal recognition of the right to health, its full enjoyment remains, for millions of people around the world, an elusive goal, due to obstacles in access to high quality, accessible, affordable, and acceptable life-saving medicines. Among the challenges experienced by many countries, there is a predominant emphasis on profitability of medicines and diagnostic tools, resulting in prohibitive price structures. This is the case for many people living with HIV and for millions of people to continue to be newly infected by this illness. Even though there has been much progress with the development of antiretroviral medicines for adults, children living with HIV have not been accorded priority attention in this field. These children are part of our future; they experience much suffering during their brief lives. Without access to early diagnosis and antiretroviral treatment, more than one-third of them die before their first birthday, and one-half die before their second birthday.

International efforts to address these serious challenges already have been undertaken by the Holy See, in collaboration with UNAIDS, PEPFAR, WHO, Caritas Internationalis, WCC-EAA, EGPAF, governments, private industry engaged in developing and producing pharmaceuticals and diagnostic tools, and faith-based organizations providing such services or engaged in advocacy related to pediatric HIV. Some of these projects are presented and explained in this publication.

Without continued, timely, effective and cooperative actions, HIV will continue to claim the lives of too many children and adolescents. There is an urgent need to implement attainable and measurable milestones in the efforts to end HIV among children by 2020 in order to "leave no child living with HIV behind". The collaboration between international organizations, governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and faith-based organizations is the key to close the gap between good intentions and the reality on the field.

    Full Text     Editorial     

Education as a Driver to Integral Growth and Peace - Ethical Reflections on the Right to Education more >>

Working Paper XII. The Caritas in Veritate Foundation is pleased to present our twelfth working paper. "Isn't education, in its whole meaning, one of the most essential and vital parts for the existence of every human group? Our future depends on how we live it and how people take this art of generating life to heart." Every child has a right to receive life skills, to strengthen his/her capacities to enjoy the full range of human rights and to promote a culture infused by appropriate human rights values. Education is a mission, enabling every child to develop personalities, self-esteem, self-confidence, talents and abilities and to live a satisfying and dignified life. However, not only do 258 million children and youths worldwide still lack access to education but childhood is also facing new emerging global challenges with, among others, the rise of new conflicts and mass migration, environmental change, and digital technology. The 30th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child provides a unique occasion to take stock of the progress made since its adoption, that considers children as persons with their own rights and responsibilities to be protected, promoted and respected. This publication proposes to analyze and offer guidelines to some of the challenges and concerns raised, by integrating an ethical perspective to the right to education and giving voice to people who, having embraced the duty to shape the youth with a strong and robust consciousness of life, dedicate their lives and careers to the pursuit of quality and inclusive education. With centuries of experience and through educational institutions worldwide, the Catholic Church continues to be one of the main providers of education.

    Full Text     Editorial     

Human Fraternity in Cyberspace - Ethical Challenges and Opportunities more >>

Working Paper XIII. The Caritas in Veritate Foundation is pleased to present our thirteenth working paper. In every corner of the world, human beings have increasingly become dependent on digital media and the latter makes a significant contribution to our daily life. Cyberspace represents a relatively new domain for interactions among peoples and among States. While this is the product of extraordinary achievements in science and in data-processing technology brought about by human ingenuity, and thus fostering prosperity and peace, intellectual growth, and access to education resources, it can also be exploited for malevolent purposes. What was initially experienced as an expression of freedom and relationship, has resulted in a field characterized by expansion without verification and possibility of control, limitless sharing of volumes of information, the fear for maintaining the integrity of one’s identity, the risk of losing personal data, and the primacy of technology over knowledge. A new arena for competition and potential conflict has emerged, becoming another ground of confrontation among States. As the line between security and peace, civilian and military applications, becomes increasingly blurred, the publication suggests that it would be opportune and beneficial to agree at the international level on a shared normative legal framework to guide actions in cyberspace and to develop a culture of responsibility as well as an ethics of fraternity and peaceful interactions in the context of cyberspace. Only then can cyberspace remain a safe domain reserved for peaceful purposes, cooperation, and mutual enrichment at the service of the common good.

    Full Text     Editorial     


Papers of five to seven pages we wish to circulate among audiences both within and outside of the sphere of the UN. They express a Catholic perspective on pressing issues of international affairs.

The Protean Vocabulary of Human Rights. By Paolo Carozza. Download

The Human and Legal Basis for Protection and Support of the Family. By Michele Schumacher. Download

On Solidarity in International Law. By Paolo Carozza and Luigi Crema. Download

The Justiciability of Religious Freedom in US and EU Courts. By Joseph Grodahl Biever and Regina Paulose. Download

Sovereign Debt and Financial Crisis: An Opportunity for Poor Countries. By Francois Marie Monnet. Download

The Social and Economic Practices Considered as Being Part of the Church's Diakonia in Italy. By Simona Beretta. Download

Religion and Human Trafficking. By Mary Leary. Download

The Status of Freedom of Religion in the World. By H.E. Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi. Download

No hay otra salida. La necesaria reforma de la organización internacional. By Dr. José Sols Lucia. Download

Women Helping Women: The Italian Experience of Women Religious in Combating Human Trafficking and Modern-Day Slavery. By Sr. Eugenia Bonetti, MC Download

Freedom of Religion in the Middle Eastern Context: Islam and its Minorities. By Joseph Ellul, O.P. Download

Global reach of transnational corporations. By Domènec Melé. Download

Religion and the Fight Against Human Trafficking. By Roza Pati. Download

Selected Interventions of the Holy See at the UN

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Interventions of the Order of Malta at the UN

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