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Tuesday, March 1, 2005


VATICAN CITY, MAR 1, 2005 (VIS) - An international study seminar on the human rights of prisoners opened this morning at the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which organized the event along with the International Commission of Catholic Prison Ministries (ICCPPC). An estimated 80 experts, scholars and chaplains are in attendance from over 20 countries on five continents.

  The council president, Cardinal Renato Martino opened the meeting this morning. His remarks were followed by a report from Ugo Vetere, director of the Treaty Affairs Division of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, on the theme "Respecting the Human Rights of Prisoners: A Global Challenge." A round table discussion on the question "Are the Human Rights of Prisoners at Risk?" closed out the morning session with interventions from, among others, Silvia Casale, president of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), Jean-Paul Laborde, director of the U.N. Terror Prevention Sector in Vienna, and Baroness Vivien Stern, secretary general of Penal Reform International.

  Tomorrow, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, will speak on "Respecting the Dignity of Every Human Being: Discovering the Face of Christ in Every Human Being." Christian Kuhn, president of ICCPPC, is scheduled to talk on "Prison Ministry: The Mission of the Church." A second round table will then take place with participation by workers in prison ministry from five countries. The seminar will conclude with a Eucharistic concelebration in Rome's Regina Coeli prison.

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