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Tuesday, July 12, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JUL 12, 2005 (VIS) - Made public yesterday evening was the final document of the First International Meeting of Pastoral Care for the Liberation of Women of the Street. The meeting, held in Rome from June 20 to 21, was promoted by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.

  Prostitution is "a form of modern day slavery," says the text of the document. In fact, "sexual exploitation, prostitution and trafficking of human beings are all acts of violence against women." As such they "constitute an offence to the dignity of women and are a grave violation of basic human rights."

  "The Church has a pastoral responsibility," the document continues, "to promote the human dignity of persons exploited through prostitution and to advocate for their liberation and economic, educational and formative support. The Church must take up the defense of the legitimate rights of women," and "denounce the injustices and violence perpetrated against women wherever and in whatever circumstances this may occur."

  The final document points out the need "to collaborate with the mass media to ensure correct communication about this problem." Moreover, "the Church must demand the enforcement of laws protecting women against the scourge of prostitution and trafficking. It is also important to advocate for effective measures against the demeaning portrayal of women in advertising."

  One of the closing recommendations is that "networks be strengthened among all groups involved in the provision of pastoral care, e.g., volunteers, associations, religious congregations, NGOs and ecumenical and inter-religious groups."

  Finally, the document underlines the importance of using "appropriate language and terminology when referring to the phenomena of sexual exploitation and prostitution. Society has a responsibility to provide alternative resources ... for persons seeking to 'leave the street'."
CON-SM/STREET WOMEN/...                        VIS 20050712 (310)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 12, 2005 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations, yesterday delivered a speech to the "Second Biennial Meeting of States to Consider the Implementation of the Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects."

  "The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons is an obvious threat to peace, development and security," said the archbishop. "That is why the Holy See adds its voice to the calls for a common approach, not only towards the illicit trade in small arms but also to related activities. ... Furthermore, as well as considering the illicit offer of arms, we must also be mindful of the dynamics of the demand for arms."

  The permanent observer highlighted another question which the Holy See considers particularly important: "The special needs of children affected by armed conflict, as described in the Plan of Action. Children need to be considered in programs of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) in post-conflict situations, in peace-keeping and peace-building, and in development programs, through community-based approaches."

  Recalling that the current meeting also served "to review the realization of the Plan of Action and see if it is still the cornerstone it should be of the new international legal framework for the control of small arms and light weapons," Archbishop Migliore affirmed: "the international community would do well to consider seriously a debate on the creation of an arms trade treaty, based on the best principles of international law on human rights and humanitarian law. Such an instrument could help contribute to the eradication of the illicit arms trade, while underlining the responsibility of States to reinforce the Plan of Action under discussion today."
DELSS/ARMS TRADE/UN:MIGLIORE                    VIS 20050712 (310)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 12, 2005 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, secretary for Relations with States, and Pierre Morel, French ambassador to the Holy See, signed an "Avenant" (modification) to the diplomatic conventions of May 14 and September 8, 1828, and to the "Avenants" of May 4, 1974 and of January 21, 1999, concerning the church and convent of Trinita dei Monti in Rome.

  A communique released today reads: "Recalling the French character of this important foundation, the international agreement expresses recognition for the work done there since 1828, with great zeal and competence, by the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

  "Taking note of the impossibility of the aforesaid society continuing its mission, the church and convent of Trinita dei Monti will be entrusted, from September 1, 2006, to the 'Fraternite monastique des Freres de Jerusalem' and to the 'Fraternite monastique des Soeurs de Jerusalem'."
OP/TRINITA DEI MONTI/LAJOLO                        VIS 20050712 (170)

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