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By Antonia Chan
The weapons industry is proverbially up in arms over Pope Francis’s recent declaration that weapons manufacturers—and their investors —are hypocrites if they call themselves Christian. At a rally in Turin, Italy, he noted that “people, managers, businessmen who call themselves Christian” and manufacture weapons lead to “a bit of distrust.”
The pope then expanded his criticism to investors in the weapons industry, claiming that “duplicity is the currency of today…they say one thing and do the other.” This condemnation stands out from Pope Francis’s previous criticism of weapons manufacturers, whom he called “merchants of death,” because of his subsequent discussion about the Holocaust and Armenian genocide. The impact of armed conflict on violations of human rights, particularly the right to health, is far-reaching and disproportionately impacts women, children, and vulnerable minorities.
The Right to Life in Peace, a paper recently published in HHR, is in line with the Pope’s statement through its human rights-based approach to discussing the essential relationship between “conditions that support peace” and “[realizing] the right to health.” Although much of the current debate over gun violence and regulation has centered on legal rights, state and non-state actors – such as weapons manufacturers, and their investors – still have an important obligation to take actions that protect public safety, health, and human rights.
More HHR Papers on Gun Violence in the Context of Health and Human Rights:
Papers In Press
Transforming Policy into Justice: The Role of Health Advocates in Mozambique
Ellie Feinglass, Nadja Gomes, and Vivek Maru
Reproductive Health Policy in Tunisia: Women's Right to Reproductive Health and Gender Empowerment
Nada Amroussia, Alison Hernandez, and Isabel Goicolea
Harvard FXB Health and Human Rights Consortium Student Essay Competition:
Human Rights, Law and Abortion in El Salvador
Lessons from Jonathan Mann: The Ten Commandments on Multidrug-Resistant TB
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