Holy See Laments Growth in Trafficking in Human Beings

At U.N. Meeting, Urges World Action

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BANGKOK, Thailand, APRIL 28, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See pressed its plea for world action against the growing scourge of trafficking in human beings.

At the 11th U.N. Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, the Catholic Church also expressed concern over the sale and possession of firearms, corruption, crimes in post conflict situations, and the effective implementation of U.N. rules concerning the just treatment of prisoners and minors.

Archbishop Salvatore Pennachio, apostolic nuncio in Thailand, addressed the U.N. assembly, held in Bangkok on April 25, on behalf of the Holy See. The Vatican press office published the text of his address today.

The archbishop focused on five «issues which are of particular concern for the Holy See and that are related to crime prevention and criminal justice.»

«The first one is trafficking in human beings,» he said. «This scourge is often responsible for taking away the hope for a decent future of the most vulnerable, especially women and children.»

«In order to face this growing phenomenon, it is of the utmost importance that national and international systems of criminal justice identify not only criminals, but also those who suffer as victims from trafficking,» the prelate said.

The Holy See’s second concern, in the framework of criminal justice and crime prevention, «is the sale and possession of firearms.»

«Clearly, there is a link between crime and trafficking in firearms that feeds terrorism at national and international levels,» Archbishop Pennachio said. «A reduction in the availability of firearms will facilitate the establishment of peace and security. It will also contribute to channel money spent on trafficking weapons, into programs for development.»

The third point of concern deals with corruption, he continued.

«Corruption assails the basic values of the society, the rule of law and justice. It undermines the goals of democratic and peace loving nations. In the public sector, corruption flies in the face of good governance,» the nuncio said.

Crimes, in postwar situations, represent the Holy See’s fourth area of concern.

«Crimes in post-conflict situations destabilize and transform the hope and trust of a population into skepticism, desperation and disillusionment,» said the papal nuncio.

«The flourishing of crime causes job destruction, weakening of already shaky social security networks, as well as health and education systems. This results in growing poverty and in undermining democratization and institutional building,» he added.

The last aspect of the Vatican’s concern for the prevention of crime and criminal justice is «the effective implementation of the U.N.-established rules concerning the just treatment of prisoners and minors.»

«In this regard, due consideration should also be given to the proposals which have been put forward in some instances about the elaboration of a Charter of the Fundamental Rights of Prisoners,» Archbishop Pennachio said. «In this document, particular attention should be devoted to a treatment of prisoners, fully respectful of their human dignity and to their meaningful reinsertion into society.»

With these proposals, he added, the Holy See hopes «to raise awareness and to promote strategies and best practices for crime prevention, while enhancing criminal justice reform, making it ever more effective to ensure order and stability at national and international levels.»

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