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Centrality of the Family and Dismantling Nuclear Arsenals. Comments on the Message of Benedict XVI on the Occasion of the World Day for Peace 2008
Benedict XVI says that the family is the primary laboratory for the construction of peace in the world because it «permits to make concrete peace experiences». The Pope explicitly refers to Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which defines the family as «the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State». The concept of «natural family» is included also in Article 10 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, in Article 17 of the American Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of 1969, in Article 18 of the African Charter on Human Rights and the Rights of Peoples of 1981, in Article 16 of the European Social Charter, in Article 38 of the Arab Charter of Human Rights of 2004. The Pope’s message emphasises the importance of the international legal recognition of the rights of the family as well as the fundamental rights of all members of the universal «human family». While saying that humanity is not lacking the «juridical norm», the Pope stresses the need that the international norm should be based on the «moral norm». The international law of human rights in force is founded on such moral norm as set forth explicitely by Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: «All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherood» (italics added). The «new» international law that is rooted in the UN Charter and in the Universal Declaration prohibits war (as proved also by Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) and obliges states to disarm in the framework of the system of collective security provided by the UN Charter. Dismantling nuclear arsenals is not only a moral and political duty, it is also a legal one.