Pope Francis warns UN of threats from climate change, nuclear arms, war

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Pope Francis addresses the United Nations

NEW YORK — Pope Francis, in his address at the United Nations on Friday, praise the Iran nuclear deal and warned that climate change and partisan conflicts threaten humanity.

Francis said the ecological crisis and widespread destruction of biodiversity “can threaten the very existence of the human species.” He said a “right of the environment” exists, and any harm done to the environment therefore is a harm done to humanity. “We live in communion with it, since the environment itself entails ethical limits which human activity must acknowledge and respect,” he said.

Pope Francis praised the Iran nuclear deal and said there is an “urgent need” to rid the world of nuclear weapons. “The recent agreement reached on the nuclear question in a sensitive region of Asia and the Middle East is proof of the potential of political goodwill and of law, exercised with sincerity, patience and constancy,” he said.

Francis also warned that current global conflicts should “serve as a grave summons to an examination of conscience on the part of those charged with the conduct of international affairs.” Calling out Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Libya, South Sudan and the Great Lakes region in sub-Saharan Africa, Francis said that “real human beings take precedence over partisan interests, however legitimate the latter may be.” He added: “In wars and conflicts, there are individual persons, our brothers and sisters, men and women, young and old, boys and girls who weep, suffer and die; human beings who are easily discarded when our only response is to draw up lists of problems, strategies and disagreements.”

Francis also spoke out against the global narcotics trade, which he said is “silently killing millions of people.” “Drug trafficking is by its very nature accompanied by trafficking in persons, money laundering, the arms trade, child exploitation and other forms of corruption,” he said.

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