The Latest: Vatican envoy decries human rights violations

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Latest on the United Nations General Assembly (all times local):

3:05 p.m.

The Vatican’s foreign minister is calling human rights violations “scandalous” and is urging the world to renew its commitment to all rights in the Universal Declaration adopted 70 years ago — “not just in words but also in practice.”

In a lengthy speech at Monday’s closing session of the U.N. General Assembly’s annual ministerial meeting, Archbishop Paul Gallagher cited numerous restrictions and denial of rights, but only alluded to the sexual abuse scandal facing the Catholic church.

He said ” the Catholic church, at all levels, is committed not only to promoting the protection of children, but also to creating safe environments for them in its own institutions, in order to address the heinous scourge of sexual abuse and violence against children.”

As for other rights violations, he said “in so many places changing one’s religion or even practicing one’s faith is still a death sentence or a reason to be discriminated against.” And he stressed that “terrorism is not an outgrowth of religion properly understood, but rather to fruit of a profound spiritual poverty.”


1:45 p.m.

Canada’s U.N. ambassador is urging the world to work together to make the United Nations and other institutions established after World War II “more efficient, fairer and more inclusive” — an implicit rebuke of U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy and his opposition to multilateralism.

Marc-Andre Blanchard made no mention of the new trade deal Canada reached with the United States and Mexico in his speech at Monday’s final session of the U.N. General Assembly’s annual ministerial meeting.

But his speech, in sharp contrast to Trump’s last week, stressed “the magnitude of the contemporary challenges the world is confronting” — including climate change, terrorism, economic inequality, irregular migration and protracted crises. He said they “require the world to work together.”

Trump poured scorn on “the ideology of globalism” in his speech to world leaders last Tuesday, touting his nationalist policies and saying “we embrace the doctrine of patriotism.”


12:30 p.m.

Nicaragua’s foreign minister says his country has resisted an “attempted coup d’etat” and “has once again won peace, fraternal coexistence and the progressive return of normal daily life.”

Denis Moncada Colindres was referring to protests that started in April over social security cuts but evolved into demands for early elections or for President Daniel Ortega to leave following a deadly crackdown by security forces and armed, allied civilian groups.The president and his backers have described the protests as U.S.-backed attempts to oust him, and Ortega has refused to step down.

Moncada Colindres told Monday’s final session of the U.N. General Assembly’s ministerial meeting that the alleged coup is the result of “interventionism” and has left the country with “economic damage, death, destruction, and terrorism.”

He said Nicaragua is facing another threat from the United States “to curb the social, economic and cultural development of our people” through a bill in Congress that seeks to prevent international financial organizations from granting loans to Nicaragua.

Human rights observers say more than 320 people have been killed in the unrest since April.


11:25 a.m.

Sudan’s foreign minister is calling for implementation of the latest agreement to end the civil war in neighboring South Sudan and urging the U.N. Security Council to quickly approve doubling a regional protection force to monitor the accord.

Eldirdiri Mohamed Ahmed told Monday’s final session of the General Assembly’s ministerial meeting that Sudan hopes rival leaders in South Sudan will “give peace a chance.”

He said regional leaders have called for the regional protection force in South Sudan to be doubled from 4,000 to 8,000 soldiers — with Sudan, Uganda, Djibouti and Somalia contributing troops.

Ahmed also cited “a real change in relations” between Sudan and South Sudan, including the possibility of resolving the Abyei border dispute and conflicts in the Sudanese states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

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