Hospitals bombed and attacked. Medical aid charity Medecins Sans Frontieres demands protection for doctors, nurses, mid-waves and patients.
Only a "collective international response" can thwart the specter of terrorism that crosses borders, according to the Vatican's permanent observer mission to the United Nations.
Joseph F.X. Zahra, a Maltese economist spoke at a U.N. event on economics, saying economic systems are operated by people and should be based on principles of freedom and dignity.
The U.N. Security Council discussed Jan. 11 besieged Syrian towns, after reports emerged that tens of thousands of civilians, trapped for months without supplies, are starving to death.
At the United Nations, Pope Francis stressed that future development efforts remember the human face of those they seek to help escape poverty and attain a dignified life.
Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Vatican's U.N. nuncio, said he was glad world leaders talk about human dignity in dialogues today about human rights, but he said they must recognize that such dignity begins at conception.
In a March 19 presentation at the United Nations, he said humans cannot be reduced to "the sum of their body parts, vital signs, or physical or intellectual attributes" and that human dignity is "not a scientific category but an ethical one."
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the announcement that Pope Francis would visit the United Nations the morning of Sept. 25 to address the U.N. General Assembly.
In a statement Wednesday, the United Nations also said the pope would meet separately with the secretary-general and with the president of the General Assembly and would participate in a town hall gathering with U.N. staff.
Millions of the world's children today are victims of armed conflict, pornography and sexual trafficking, and still more "are denied the most fundamental right to life," said the Vatican's nuncio to the United Nations.
"Prenatal selection eliminates babies suspected to have disabilities and female children simply because of their sex," Archbishop Berardito Auza said Oct. 17 in a statement to the U.N. Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee, which was discussing the rights of children.
He is the Vatican's permanent representative at the U.N. in New York.
The United Nations' framework provides the "only viable way" of dealing with the global nature of modern terrorism "which knows no borders," the Vatican's secretary of state told the U.N. General Assembly on Monday.
"This reality requires a renewed United Nations that undertakes to foster and preserve peace," said Cardinal Pietro Parolin, emphasizing that recent terrorist activity is "criminal behavior that is not envisaged by the juridical configuration of the United Nations charter."
Addressing the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday, the Vatican's secretary of state said "terrorism represents a fundamental threat to our common humanity" and its escalation requires the response of a "shared commitment" from all nations.
"Nations must come together in order to fulfill our primary responsibility to protect people threatened by violence and direct assaults on their human dignity," Cardinal Pietro Parolin said.