Caritas Studying Unequal Treatment of Women

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ROME, JUNE 14, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Leaders of Caritas Internationalis, the largest Catholic confederation of aid, are meeting in Rome to find new ways of acting in emergencies and promoting reconciliation.

Sixty representatives of national Caritas groups are participating in the working sessions.

Likewise, the annual meeting of Caritas´ executive committee this week is analyzing the problems of equality of opportunities between men and women, and the relation between militarization and humanitarian aid.

Regarding equality of opportunity for men and women, Monsignor Giorgio Bertin, director of Caritas-Somalia, told Vatican Radio that this is a critical topic in the countries of the Horn of Africa.

"Even today, horrible practices take place ... which abuses feminine dignity in a really shameful way," Monsignor Bertin said. "In the Caritas sections of Djibouti and Somalia, we are working especially for a change in mentality."

On the question of reconciliation, Monsignor Bertin explained that it is a key topic for Caritas, because "the great forms of poverty depend especially on the absence of peace, the lack of acceptance of differences that can be tribal, linguistic or economic -- in a word, the lack of just relations between peoples."