Category Archives: Vatican

Women African judges meet at Vatican to tackle ‘plague’ of human trafficking

Africa
Pope Francis meets with participants in a World Day of Reflection against Trafficking in Persons in Vatican City, Feb. 12, 2018. Credit: Vatican City

.- A group of around 50 women judges and prosecutors engaged in the fight against human trafficking and organized crime in Africa is meeting at the Vatican this week.

Hosted by the Pontifical Academy for Sciences, the Dec. 12-13 meeting reprises a similar summit held in December 2018.

Pope Francis addressed the summit privately for around 10-15 minutes in the afternoon of Dec. 12.

Judith Wanjala told CNA Pope Francis addressed the problem of human trafficking, “urging us to take positive steps to deal with this problem, which is affecting the entire world, so many countries.”

Wanjala, who has heard human trafficking cases as a judge in Kenya for more than 30 years, added that Pope Francis’ encouragement of the summit is for her a sign of his strong feelings against trafficking.

She said she is participating in the gathering to share and to understand better what practices judges and prosecutors in other African countries are putting into place.

“I think it is important for everybody to understand what trafficking is, because it affects almost every aspect of society, not just as women but the entire judiciary, prosecutors, police, investigators, and the public,” she said. Everyone needs “to understand what human trafficking entails.”

One participating judge, who asked not to be identified, called human trafficking a “plague” in Africa.

Mina Sougrati, an administrative judge in Morocco, told CNA that Africa is very concerned about human trafficking.

She explained that the increase in illegal immigration to Europe has been contributing to the problem, especially in Morocco: “There’s a big market for human trafficking.”

“For me it’s very important, you know, that this issue is international. And everyone from society is concerned,” she said. “Judges are more concerned because it’s up to them to decide whether it’s a human trafficker or not.”

She added that these meetings are very important because they do not always have opportunities to gather as judges within one country, “let alone the whole continent of Africa.”

“So, when we are here, everyone, from each country, talks about the problems, whether there is a law or no law, what is the strategy of the country, are there institutions working on this issue or not. We try to exchange experiences.”

Sougrati noted that the group is very happy Pope Francis has decided to create a pan-African committee on the topic of human trafficking. “The pope has done a very good thing,” she said. “This is a very, very strong work; no country in the world has done it like this.”

“We thanked him for doing this. I felt from his discourse that he speaks from the bottom of his heart that judges must work on this.”

 

 

 

 

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/women-african-judges-meet-at-vatican-to-tackle-plague-of-human-trafficking-45924

Holy See issues statement on conviction, appeal of Cardinal Pell

CNA photoCardinal George Pell outside Rome’s Hotel Quirinale, March 3, 2016. Credit: Alexey Gotovskiy/CNA
Vatican City, (CNA). The Vatican press office has issued a statement on the recently announced conviction of Cardinal George Pell on charges of the sexual abuse of minors.

The decision of the County Court of Victoria was reached on December 11, 2018, but not widely reported until this week, following the imposition of a sweeping gag order by the court in June of last year. Pell was convicted on five counts of child sexual abuse against two former choristers in Melbourne Cathedral in 1996.

The statement from the Holy See press office, issued Feb. 26, acknowledges the “painful” news which has “shocked many people.”

“As already expressed on other occasions, we have the utmost respect for the Australian judicial authorities,” the statement said.

“Out of this respect, we await the outcome of the appeals process, recalling that Cardinal Pell maintains his innocence and has the right to defend himself until the last stage of appeal.”

The statement confirms that Pell has been barred from public ministry and from contact with minors during the course of the legal process, and will remain so during his appeal.

“In order to ensure the course of justice, the Holy Father has confirmed the precautionary measures which had been imposed by the local Ordinary on Cardinal George Pell when he returned to Australia. That is, while awaiting the definitive assessment of the facts, as is the norm, Cardinal George Pell is prohibited from exercising public ministry and from having any voluntary contact whatsoever with minors.”

The lifting of the court imposed gag order followed the decision by local prosecutors to drop further charges related to Pell’s time as a priest in the 1970s. With the proposed second trial cancelled, Chief Judge Peter Kidd lifted the reporting restrictions.

Pell is expected to be sentenced on Wednesday and is appealing the conviction.

The Vatican statement followed a similar release by Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Melbourne, president of the Australian Bishops’ Conference.

“The bishops [of Australia] agree that everyone should be equal under the law, and we respect the Australian legal system. The same legal system that delivered the verdict will consider the appeal that the Cardinal’s legal team has lodged. Our hope, at all times, is that through this process, justice will be served,” Coleridge wrote.

“In the meantime, we pray for all those who have been abused and their loved ones, and we commit ourselves anew to doing everything possible to ensure that the Church is a safe place for all, especially the young and the vulnerable.”

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/holy-see-issues-statement-on-conviction-appeal-of-cardinal-pell-46914