Autor: Douglas A. Sylva Fuente: C-FAM (Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute)

At a gala dinner held in New York City last night, the President of Costa Rica, Dr. Abel Pacheco, was awarded the first ever Kolbe Prize for Peace in recognition of his personal leadership in his nation’s effort to achieve a comprehensive international ban on all forms of human cloning at the United Nations.

At the dinner, US Ambassador Stuart Holliday read a letter of congratulations from President George W. Bush to President Pacheco, and also made the first public announcement that the United States had recommitted itself to the Costa Rican proposal in anticipation of the renewed UN debate on human cloning scheduled for September.

The Kolbe Prize for Peace is awarded annually to the person who has most advanced the culture of life and the dignity of the human person on the international stage. The custodian of the Kolbe Prize for Peace and host of the event, called the Friend to the Nations Dinner, is the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM).

In his remarks, President Pacheco said that “I am pleased to accept this award not only as an acknowledgement of my personal commitment but also of the steadfast devotion of the government and the people of Costa Rica to the right to life, from the very moment of conception to the last moment of death...This historic commitment to human dignity has moved us to propose to the United Nations the adoption of a comprehensive ban on all forms of human cloning. Human cloning, whether done with the purpose of creating identical copies of other human beings or to make scientific experiments, constitutes a grave breach of human dignity.”

On presenting him with the award, the Kolbe Prize for Peace medal, C-FAM President Austin Ruse commented on the risks faced by nations that take a stand at the United Nations, saying, “know that it is very dangerous, and at the end of the day, it was a small nation from Central America led by a brave medical doctor who is their president. The world followed the resolution of Costa Rica. Costa Rica and her foreign ministry announced their resolution and then one by one built a coalition of states that now numbers more than 60 co-sponsors and with the hard work of Costa Rica, the United States, the Holy See and many other brave states, we hope for more than 100 votes this fall and a victory for a comprehensive ban on human cloning."

The more than 250 UN ambassadors, business and political leaders present at the dinner, including the Papal Nuncio to the UN, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, and the Spanish Ambassador to the UN, Innocencio Arias, heard Ambassador Holliday read the sentiments of President Bush, “I send greetings to those gathered for the Friend to the Nations Dinner, hosted by the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. Congratulations to His Excellency Abel Pacheco, President of Costa Rica, as you are awarded the Kolbe Prize for Peace in recognition of your work to preserve the dignity of human life. Through your leadership and dedication, you are helping to build a more compassionate world. Laura joins me in sending our best wishes for a memorable event.”
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