The Holy See has been actively involved in international relations since its very beginnings. Today, its role in the formation of international human rights instruments is seen by many as “symbolic,” based largely on its concerns as a universal moral witness to humanity.
In this paper, I contend that the Holy See’s role in promoting human rights in international affairs is not solely symbolic; rather, its diplomacy is based more on pragmatic considerations of promoting its conceptions of the universal common good and the fundamental right to life than is currently recognized. By examining the Beijing and Cairo Conferences, and especially the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, it is clear that the Holy See makes important distinctions between “hard” and “soft” law and is willing to engage in compromise, not merely acting in a symbolic role.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/chad_marzen/6/