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Vatican warns globalisation threatens society's most vulnerable

The Vatican has warned that globalisation and technological advances are threatening to generate new forms of racism against society's weakest members, including immigrants, the poor and the unborn.

It called on governments to be vigilant against the creation of a ``sub-category of human beings,'' which it said would represent a ``new and terrible form of slavery.''

The comments came in a new edition of the document, The Church and Racism, by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. First published in 1988, it was revised ahead of the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, which begins on Friday in Durban, South Africa.

The document includes the original 1988 text and a new 15-page introduction, prepared as a contribution to the U.N.-sponsored racism conference, to which the Vatican was sending a delegation. The introduction clearly signaled the Vatican's determination to make migration, poverty and pro-life issues a key part of its agenda at the UN conference. It also called for a major educational effort against racism and intolerance and gave qualified support for affirmative action programs.