Friday, December 4, 2015

Pope Francis Speaks Out About Basic Human Rights

Pope Francis, While in Africa, Speaks of Basic Human Rights

[from the Amecea News Blog:]

Pope Francis has denounced the conditions slum-dwellers are forced to live in and said that access to safe water is a basic human right and that everyone should have dignified, adequate housing.

Speaking at Kangemi Slum in Nairobi during the last day of his visit Pope Francis said “Our world has a grave social debt towards the poor who lack access to drinking water, because they are denied the right to a life consistent with their inalienable dignity (Laudato Si’, 30). …. To deny a family water, under any bureaucratic pretext whatsoever, is a great injustice, especially when one profits from this need.

Residents of the Kangemi slum lined up along the streets to welcome Pope Francis. Those lucky enough to score access to St. Joseph's parish erupted in cheers and hymns when Francis arrived at the open-sided church that serves the slum of about 50,000 people.

“I am here because I want you to know that your joys and hopes, your troubles and your sorrows, are not indifferent to me.  I realize the difficulties which you experience daily!  How can I not denounce the injustices which you suffer?” Pope Francis asked.

On issue of infrastructure Pope Francis said that it is a serious problem if one lacks access to infrastructures and basic services.  “By this I mean toilets, sewers, drains, refuse collection, electricity, roads, as well as schools, hospitals, recreational and sport centers, studios and workshops for artists and craftsmen,” he said.

The Holy Father urged the authority to work with the people living in the slums upon the path of social inclusion, education, sport, community action, and the protection of families, for this is the only guarantee of a peace that is just, authentic and enduring.

In the conclusion of his speech Pope Francis said,  “Dear neighbors, dear brothers and sisters, let us together pray, work and commit ourselves to ensuring that every family has dignified housing, access to drinking water, a toilet, reliable sources of energy for lighting, cooking and improving their homes; that every neighborhood has streets, squares, schools, hospitals, areas for sport, recreation and art; that basic services are provided to each of you; that your appeals and your pleas for greater opportunity can be heard; that all can enjoy the peace and security which they rightfully deserve on the basis of their infinite human dignity.”

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