RIO DE JANEIRO, JAN. 11, 2001 ( The Pastoral Care of Children, an organization of the Episcopal Conference of Brazil (CNBB), has been officially named a candidate to receive the Nobel Peace Prize 2001.

This was announced by the CNBB itself, stating that yesterday Fernando Henrique Cardoso, the country´s President, signed the petition addressed to the Oslo Committee. Representatives of the Episcopal Conference and of the Pastoral Care of Children attended the ceremony.

This Church organization, which helps over 1.5 million very young mothers and children under 6 years who live in extreme poverty, has 3,000 assistance centers.

One of the organization´s main objectives is to reduce infant mortality in areas where it is present, to at least half the national average.

This endeavor is carried out thanks to the cooperation of 145,000 volunteers, the majority of whom work in their own communities.

To date, the candidature has the support of 600,000 signatures.