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Strasbourg, 22 September 1998
On occasion of the UN World Day of Social Justice, we offer an excerpt of Chiara’s talk to the Council of Europe.
Mrs. Leni Fischer, President of the Parliamentary Assembly, Mr. Giorgos Papandreou, Director of the Committee of Ministers, Mr. Daniel Tarschys, Secretary General, Your Excellencies, Ladies, Gentlemen, Friends,
I would like to begin by expressing my gratitude to the Council of Europe for conferring the prestigious 1998 European Human Rights Prize also to me.
The Parliamentary Assembly and the Committee of Ministers, with a joint decision, wished to give this recognition to me in order to award, I believe, the Focolare Movement, whose foundress I am, and whose ideal has inspired the action of millions of women and men of every age, language, profession, nation and race, members of various religions and the most diverse convictions, thus acknowledging the Movement’s concrete contribution “towards the promotion and defense of human rights.”
In fact, the first article of “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights” (this year marks its 50th anniversary), affirms: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They ... should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”