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Pope Francis receives President Rik Daems at private audience

Pope François / Rik Daems

During a private audience on 21 September with Pope Francis, PACE President Rik Daems shared with His Holiness his conviction that a healthy environment should be considered a human right, and his hope that this could eventually be enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights in the form of an Additional Protocol.

Violence against women, on the rise during the COVID-19 crisis, was another issue the President brought up, stressing that it was a matter of grave concern and that it must urgently be made one of the top priorities of society as a whole. “We should not contribute to what Pope Francis has described in one of his addresses as 'the globalisation of indifference’,” the President said.

They also discussed the importance of an approach that brought “unity in diversity” and the imperative need for Europe to remain united, and not to give way to rising nationalism, but to actively promote multilateralism. At the end of the audience, the PACE President invited Pope Francis to address the Assembly on the occasion of one of its future sessions.