Hold the Presses is your online newsportal en brings press releases from around the world. Journalists can use it for free, although it is their responsibilty to check the news. Hold the Presses is in no way responsible for the content of the press releases, the Sender is. We hope you enjoy reading the news we bring you on this website. If a message is published that is not acceptable, we apologize. Please contact us and we will remove the message as soon as possible.

Monday, 4 September 2017

The Vatican: Pope visits Colombia 'to support peace and promote reconciliation'

Pope visits Colombia 'to support peace and promote reconciliation'
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is set to travel to Colombia from 6 to 11 September. He will be the third Pope to visit the Latin American nation in the footsteps of Pope Paul VI in 1964 and Pope Saint John Paul II in 1986. Francis begins his trip in the capital Bogota and also will visit the cities of Villavicencio, Medellin and Cartagena.  It is a crucial moment for Colombia, which is in the throes of implementing a peace agreement with FARC rebels after a 52-year internal conflict that has left over 260,000 people dead, 60,000 unaccounted for and over 7 million displaced. The former British Ambassador to the Holy See, Nigel Baker , who currently heads  the South America Department at the Foreign Office in London,  told Linda Bordoni that Pope Francis' visit there is an extremely important sign of encouragement for the nation's peace process and will help promote reconciliation: Listen to the full interview:   Baker described the papal visit to Colombia as "extremely important" because it comes in the wake of the extraordinary progress and journey that the nation has made towards peace by signing a deal with the main guerrilla group, the FARC, which many thought would have been impossible.   "The extraordinary progress that has been made needs to be acknowledged," Baker said. Another key theme of Pope Francis' visit to Colombia is to encourage the process of reconciliation after such a long and bitter civil war.  In this context, Baker said it was "incredibly important" that the Pope is meeting victims of the conflict and leading prayers for national reconciliation during his visit. Staying on the theme of encouragement, Baker said the people of Colombia need "to turn the page from the difficult past" and recognize the huge possibilities and "bright future" that peace can bring to their nation. (from Vatican Radio)...
Lees verder

Vatican calls for new efforts to combat trafficking of migrants
(Vatican Radio) Politicians, business leaders, civil society and faith communities must step up efforts to combat the alarming increase in human trafficking. That message was at the heart of a statement given at a meeting in Vienna on Monday by the Holy See's representative to the fifth thematic session on the Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration . The Vatican delegation to the two day meeting was headed by Jesuit Father Michael Czerny , undersecretary of the Migrants and Refugees section of the office for Integral Human Development. Listen to our report:  In his statement, he stressed that: "Irregular migration is not freely chosen, but rather forced on people because legal and secure channels are simply not available". The migration process, he said, usually begins with "high hopes and expectations for greater security and better opportunities". Since safe and affordable routes are general unavailable, he said, many migrants employ smugglers, but end up with an irregular or undocumented status that leaves them vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Legal frameworks, reliable pathways Therefore, he said, the Holy See stresses the importance of ensuring adequate legal frameworks and reliable pathways to prevent migrants becoming victims of trafficking and enslavement. Factors such as poverty, unemployment, statelessness, lack of education and gender discrimination do not necessarily lead to trafficking. Rather, Fr Czerny said, it is the interplay of factors that increases vulnerability. Societies must combat demand Each society, he added, must recognize the forces of demand – such as prostitution and work paid below minimum national standards – that make human trafficking such a profitable, multi-billion dollar business. Please find below the full statement by Father Michael Czerny, Undersecretary of the Migrant and Refugee Section of the Holy See: Fifth Thematic Session on the Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration, on the topic: "Smuggling of migrants, trafficking in persons and contemporary forms of slavery, including appropriate identification, protection and assistance to migrants and trafficking victims" Vienna, 4-5 September 2017 My Delegation wishes to welcome the two Co-facilitators and the Special Representative for International Migration and to thank the panelists for their thoughtful presentations. In the preparation of the Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration, the Holy See very much welcomes the deep consideration of issues like trafficking and contemporary slavery which cause so much suffering for an ever increasing number of hapless victims in every part of the world. Today's complex migration scenario is sadly characterized by "new forms of slavery imposed by criminal organizations, which buy and sell men, women and children." [1] Despite the great achievements of international agreements, asylum seekers and migrants, who risk their lives in search of safety and a new home, are still and ever more vulnerable, especially to criminal organizations. The migration process usually begins with high hopes and expectations for greater security and better opportunities. Since safe, regular and affordable routes are generally not available, many migrants employ smugglers. Elements of human trafficking are present in much of contemporary human smuggling, and this is one reason why the migration project can go disastrously wrong. Traffickers can easily take advantage of the desperation of migrants and asylum seekers. Ending up in an irregular or undocumented status, they are at a very high risk of abuse and exploitation, including trafficking and enslavement. Therefore, the Holy See stresses the importance of ensuring adequate legal frameworks and reliable pathways to prevent migrants from becoming victims of human trafficking. Factors contributing to vulnerability, like poverty, statelessness, joblessness, lack of education, discrimination of women and girls, do not in and of themselves necessarily lead to trafficking. Rather, it is the interplay of factors, mutually reinforcing each other, that increases vulnerability. At the same time, each society needs to recognize the forces of demand -- for example, for prostitution, or for labour below the minimum national standards -- that are at work domestically to make human trafficking very profitable. The numbers of smuggled and trafficked migrants keeps on increasing alarmingly. [2] According to the 2016 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, 51 percent of the victims are women, 21 percent are men, 20 percent girls and 8 percent boys. Human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar industry, among the world's largest, with an estimated 21 to 46 million people, victims of forced labour, debt-bondage, sex and other forms of trafficking. Slavery must not be an unavoidable aspect of economies. Instead, business should be in the vanguard in combating and preventing this travesty. [3] Investigations have to be coordinated at national, regional and international levels. Data and key information sharing must be assured as well as legal protection for victims, while perpetrators are prosecuted and brought to justice. To protect human dignity, the training of public officers, and establishing national policies to guarantee foreigners access to justice, are very important. Assistance to victims must be guaranteed in receiving countries, and the principle of "non-refoulement" has to be applied to victims of trafficking, assuring them psychological counselling and other support and rehabilitation. Victims should be allowed to stay regularly in the country as long as they need healing therapy and eventually have their stay extended with the opportunity to work. "We ought to recognize that we are facing a global phenomenon which exceeds the competence of any one community or country. In order to eliminate it, we need a mobilization comparable in size to that of the phenomenon itself." [4] Therefore the contributions of political bodies, business, academia, civil society and communities of faith are all indispensable, each according to their own capacities and responsibilities. A measure of the GCM's success will be if tomorrow's migratory movements are no longer inevitably marked by human smuggling as today's clearly are. For irregular migration is not freely chosen but rather forced on people because legal and secure channels are simply not accessible. The Holy See looks forward to participating in the high-level meeting to review the progress made on the implementation of the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, 27-28 September in New York, where it will reiterate its strong commitments. Thank you. 1 Pope Francis, Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2016, 12 September 2015. 2 E.g., UNODC, Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, 2016. "Measuring the total volume of trafficking in persons is not an easy task as any assessment of this crime needs to account for the coexistence of its three defining elements, the act, the means and the purpose" (p. 30). "A total of more than 570 different trafficking flows could be discerned from this data. This is a marked increase from previous editions of the Global Report, where 460 flows were detected for the period 2007-2010, and 510 for the period 2010-2012" (pp. 39-40). 3 The literature reveals that the current de facto response of most businesses focuses on monitoring supply chains for forced labour. While material, these measures do not address sufficiently the wider socio-economic and cultural factors that engender trafficking. They fall short of the promise of business to engage as a strong and positive influence on society as posited by the SDGs. 4 Pope Francis, Message for the celebration of the World Day of Peace, 1 January 2015. (from Vatican Radio)...
Lees verder

Pope meets with members of the Shalom community
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met in the Vatican on Monday with a cheering crowd of young people and families belonging to the Shalom community . Speaking off the cuff in his native Spanish, the Pope replied to questions from three young members of the community about how to witness to their faith in a world often marked by indifference and hopelessness. The Shalom Catholic community was founded back in the early 1980s in the city of Fortaleza in north-eastern Brazil. Today it counts some 3.800 members spread across the different continents, and is focused on contemplation, unity and evangelization. Go out to share the good news In his reply to a young man named Juan from Chile, Pope Francis highlighted the importance of "going out of oneself" to share the good news of God's mercy with others. God is always with us, he insisted, waiting for us even in the most difficult moments of our lives, just as the father of the prodigal son runs out to embrace his child, despite all the sinful things he has done. Avoid being self-centred Replying to a young French woman about the role of youth in the life and mission of the Church, the Pope spoke of their joy which is opposed to the sadness that comes from always being self-centred or "self-referential". Narcissism, he said, is a disease which causes sadness by making us worry every day about how to appear better than we are. Calling it "the disease of the mirror", he urged young people to "break the mirror" and look at others, as a way of escaping from today's consumer culture. Share freely with others Pope Francis then responded to a young Brazilian man who spent many years as a drug addict before discovering the Shalom community. The Pope said drugs dominate people's lives by destroying our roots and all that we hold close to our hearts. He urged young people to become aware of those roots and to share freely with others all the blessings that they themselves have received. Learn from your elders Finally, the Pope encouraged his listeners to learn from the wisdom of older members of the community, especially their grandparents. Engaging in this inter-generational dialogue, he said, is one of the major challenges facing our societies today.   (from Vatican Radio)...
Lees verder