The Grand Chancellor of the Sovereign Order of Malta has addressed the 49th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, which opened in Geneva on Monday 28 February. “The Human Rights Council is the only international body tackling all issues related to the protection, promotion and implementation of human rights and its work is therefore essential to resolving tensions and fostering peaceful societies” noted Albrecht Boeselager in a video which was broadcast during the session.
“The Sovereign Order of Malta is following with great distress the ongoing conflict in Ukraine which has already provoked tremendous humanitarian needs and impacted the lives of so many Ukrainian citizens, minors, women and elderly and is causing an enormous flow of displaced people seeking safety across their nation’s borders” the Grand Chancellor stated in his remark.
Since the outbreak of the war the Order of Malta and its associations, relief services and volunteer corps have been engaged in Ukraine and in the bordering countries to provide emergency relief, food and psychosocial support to the thousands of people crossing the borders and fleeing the country.
The Grand Chancellor went on to explain that in the face of the ongoing crises and the human rights violations also fuelled by the global Covid-19 pandemic, the Sovereign Order of Malta remains committed to protecting the most vulnerable as it has done for over nine centuries. “The road to recovery from Covid-19 must include eliminating all forms of discrimination by strengthening the rights to health and to social protection, with a strong emphasis on equal access to and distribution of vaccines” stated the Grand Chancellor.
The Order of Malta is currently engaged in promoting respect for and protecting freedom of religion or belief for all, which includes the freedom of thought and conscience, to hold any belief or none, to change religion or belief and to manifest alone or in community in worship, practice, and teaching. To this end the Order of Malta is actively part of the Freedom of Religion or Belief process and of the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance which aim to advance this fundamental right in both its member and non-member states through common action in the spirit of partnership, cooperation and continual improvement.
“Interreligious dialogue and cooperation among different faith communities also facilitates the Order of Malta’s worldwide humanitarian action as we recognize the value of engaging with religious leaders and their infrastructure” added Boeselager.
Over the past few months, the Order of Malta has taken an active key role in many events, from the G20 Interfaith Forum held in Bologna last September to the Global Interfaith Summit organised within the framework of the Expo in Dubai. Furthermore, in April 2021 the Order joined forces with the Holy See at a high-level event held in Geneva on Fraternity, Multilateralism and Peace.