Caritas believes it is scandalous that eighty million people live below the poverty line in Europe, a quarter of them children. So, while the MDGs are stepping stones, striving to halve poverty in the developing world, Caritas Europa launched the “Zero Poverty” campaign to end poverty full stop as a starting point for all humanity. I t is an urgent demand. Across Europe, Caritas members said more people were asking for their services. On St Valentine’s Day, Pope Benedict XVI visited Caritas Rome’s Don Luigi di Liegro shelter, describing it as “something concrete that allows the light of God to enter the lives of the whole community.” Don Luigi was the founder of both Caritas Rome and the shelter, and he believed that handing out food and clothes wasn’t enough: society must look into itself to see where it had failed people. This philosophy is very much in line with the [...]
When Caritas speaks, its voice is heard. It is heard by governments, policy and lawmakers, drug companies, the United Nations, other humanitarian organisations. It is a powerful voice, created fromhundreds of thousands of voices around the world. Caritas speaks on behalf of the poor and the marginalised, calling for a moral way of living for us all, refusing to accept that it is business as usual with continued economic upheaval and record food prices. In 2010, Caritas urged action to stop the chance of a lifetime from slipping through our fingers. This chance is enshrined in the Millennium Development Goals, which seek to cut poverty by half by 2015. But without more help to developing countries, we are in danger of not keeping our promises to the poor. Caritas also campaigned internationally on climate change at the Cancun summit, and Caritas Canada (Development and Peace) pressed world leaders at the G8 [...]
By Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, Caritas Internationalis, at the High Level Meeting on AIDS, UN Headquarters It was not so difficult to wake up early in New York City since the streets there live up to their reputation of “never sleeping” – so I found myself out of my hotel and waiting outside the chain-locked gates of UN headquarters before 7am on 08 June 2011. I wanted to get a “head start” on the cue to register for the UN High Level Meeting on AIDS. Thus I was among the first people processed that day and, with my badge securely fastened around my neck, I proceeded to the section for non-governmental organisation observers, having obtained my ticket for a seat in this section even before 7AM! Then once again, I had to wait for the programme to start at 9AM. As one who enjoys “people watching”, especially in international [...]
By Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, Head of Delegation to the UN in Geneva and Special Advisor on HIV/AIDS for Caritas Internationalis Let’s begin with the good news - of a child who gained access to anti-retroviral treatment (ART) at the Village of Hope, a programme in Tanzania that is assisted by the Vatican’s Bambino Gesù Hospital. However, there are other tragic experiences, too numerous to tell, of children who are diagnosed too late to benefit from such treatment. Despite World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations to test all infants with unknown HIV exposure and to start treatment for all HIV-infected infants under 12 months of age, access is still a grave problem in many parts of the world. For example, in Myanmar, ART is available to only 1/3 of adults who need it, and there are no reliable estimates of infected children, let alone of those who need ART. In fact, in [...]
Caritas Internationalis General Secretariat and Caritas member representatives are attending the United Nations General Assembly High Level Meeting on HIV in New York this week, where they will be part of the launch a policy paper on the need for maintaining funding to tackle the pandemic in the wake the financial crisis. The meeting, which takes place from June 8th – 10th, will review progress against commitments made in 2001 and 2006. Although the global community has contributed more than US$32bn to achieve universal access to treatment for all those infected, these targets have not been met, particularly in the poorest countries. Finola Finnan, Trócaire (Caritas Ireland) Programme Leader for HIV and AIDS and Chair of the Catholic HIV and AIDS Network (CHAN), will stress the need for countries to fulfil commitments already made, while also calling on further long-term commitments to extend treatment and support to the most vulnerable. The CHAN paper [...]
Across the globe, women do 66% of the world’s work and produce 50% of its food, yet earn only 10% its income and own 1% of its property. Such figures show just how far we still have to go in the struggle to achieve the genuine equality and empowerment of women worldwide, an objective set down in the third Millennium Development Goal. Listen to Martina Liebsch, Caritas Internationalis policy director, interviewed by Vatican Radio for International Women's Day 2011.