ICCPPC at the United Nations in Vienna 2024

Wien plenum
David Buick (president IPCA), Doris Schäfer, Alan Rufli (IPCA representative Europe)

From 13 to 17 May 2024, the 33rd session of the CCPCJ (Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice) took place at the UN headquarters in Vienna. Doris Schäfer took part as the representative of the ICCPPC (International Commission of Catholic Prison Pastoral Care). The UN member states and NGOs involved in this area meet annually for this meeting. It is a good opportunity to make contacts. Many problems that exist worldwide are discussed. It is often possible to draw conclusions about the state of a society from the state of its prisons.

This year, for example, we learnt how the situation of prisoners deteriorates considerably when a country is at war. A representative of an NGO from Sudan and a representative from Yemen reported on their countries in so-called side events.

Representatives from Iran, the Philippines and Indonesia, on the other hand, reported on many executions in their countries, which are primarily intended to prevent drug trafficking.

However, initiatives and projects were also discussed on how positive steps could be taken in the area of combating and preventing crime with the help of NGOs or in cooperation with UN organisations.

The presence of the prison chaplaincy is greatly appreciated by many. In addition to ICCPPC, IPCA, an ecumenical organisation of prison chaplains, which in Europe mainly brings together members of Protestant churches, was also represented. Both organisations have observer status at the UN. The meeting in Vienna is also a good opportunity to get to know each other better, to talk about the situation of prison chaplaincies worldwide and to consider possible joint projects. Ecumenical cooperation seems essential if we want to make a difference in prisons around the world.

Doris Schäfer, ICCPPC representative Europe