ICCPPC Report Asia 2017
The report of Asian regional meeting held at congress in Panama
Reported by Fr. Sebastian Vadakumpadan, Asian Representative.
THE WORLD OF PRISONS: More than 11 million people are held in penal institutions throughout the world (WPPL)
1. Asian countries and prisons:
In Asia we have 45 countries including the Middle East countries. The total number of people under confinement is 3728422 ( 3. 7 million) (WPPL.).
INDIA: Prison Ministry India, a national voluntary registered organization under the guidance of Catholic bishops’ conference of India with 30 rehabilitation centres and 850 branches all over the country. There is always pastoral letter on Prison Ministry Sunday and awareness programmes are conducted in all the dioceses. In India there are 418536 prisoners in 1387 prisons and 67.6 percent of them are undertrial prisoners. There have been conducted so far 14 national conventions. India hosted Asian Board meeting and Fr. Brian Gowans opened the national conference of Prison Ministry India.
PHILIPPIANS: One of the best commissions in Asian Countries working for prisoners’ welfare is the Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care in Philippians. It is a great achievement that the abolition of the capital punishment by continuous hard work and awareness programmes of the commission. Most Rev. Leopoldo is chairman of the commission and Mr. Rodolfo D. Diamnate as the executive secretary of the commission. Asian Delegate participated for the 9th General Assembly of Chaplains and volunteers in Prison Service on December 10th to 14 in 2013 and 15th of December to 20th of December for the interaction with Prison Ministry people.
THAILAND MISSION: Sixth International Conference on Human Rights & Prison Reform from March 4 – 8, 2014, Bangkok,Thailand was Participated by Asian Delegate and presented a paper on abolition of Capital Punishment. It was an occasion to coordinate the work of prison ministry in Thailand. There were chances of visiting the prisons and juvenile home with the cooperation of Caritas Thailand.
BANGLADESH MISSION: Fr. Sebastian Vadakumpadan visited Bangladesh with the mission of strengthening prison ministry in Bangladesh. We convened the meeting with rehabilitated girls and the prison ministry volunteers. 14 Bangladesh girls were repatriated by the help of Asian Delegate from India.
SRILANKA MISSION: Fr. Sebastian Vadakumpadan, the Asian Delegate of International Commission of Catholic Prison Pastoral Care made a visit to Srilanka for the Asian Coordination of prison ministry under ICCPPC. There was a national meeting under the chairmanship of Most Rev. Harold Hentry for Prisoners and migrants.Thus the visit took place from 16th to 26th of June, 2015.
HONKONG: Cardinaal + John Card. Tong was happy to accept the Asian Delegate of ICCPPC in the Bishop’s house and arranging meeting with the volunteers of prison ministry from 16th to 26th of December, 2013.Cardinal and Fr. Sebastian Vadakumpadan celebrated the Christmas in Honkong prison. Incharge of Prison Ministry Honkong is –Deacon Edwin.
NEPAL: Fr. Sebastian Vadakumpadan visited Nepal for prison ministry coordination from 6th to 17th of September, 2012. Bp. Sharma was so welcoming and arranged a meeting with a few volunteers. Fr. Augustine Amakkatt, SJ and Fr. S. Arulanandam, SJ were elected as the national and assistant national directors of Prison Ministry Nepal.
ARAB COUNTRIES: I had another trip to meet Bp. Paul Hinter for discussing the coordination of prison ministry in Arab countries. We had meeting with the volunteers of Prison Ministry and came to agreement to help the prisoners in their repatriation in the month of September,2013. There was repatriation of Indian national from Dubai prison to India. Prison Ministry India worked upon the release and rehabilitation.
IRAN: FR. Eli Nasr is coordinating the work of Prison Ministry. He collaborates with Church in Armenia and finding an official chaplaincy in Iran. He is the nominated priest in Iran. He collaborates with Armenian and Chaldean church in Iran. He tries to create a general chaplaincy in Iran. He makes visit to Jordan, Tehran and other places.
ARMENIA and GEORGIA: The permission is granted freely. They are regular visitors of the prisons. Archbishop Minassian is taking care of Armenia, Georgia, and 13 countries.
JORDAN: Fr. Fabian Alaniz is the coordinator of the country. They have four dioceses and permission is tough. No moral support even from the church.
LEBANON: Andary, Fr. Joseph. There are 24 prisons. All the people are involved such as priests, sisters and lay volunteers. There are about 800 prisoners. They also face a lot of foreign nationals in their prisons. They too get the permission and make regular visit to the prisons.
SYRIA: Msgr. Absi is the incharge.
PALESTINE: Fr. David Machans.
TURKEY: Msgr. Francois Yakan is coordinating the general chaplaincy in Turkey.
TAIWAN: Fr. John Antony is working as the representative from Taiwan and it is the first time they are attending the conference. They are having the 7 dioceses and all the dioceses are active in the ministry.
2. Collecting of items of Common Interest.
A. Making a common Target for the next four years for ICCPPC and for the region
B. Input sessions for all the regional and international level
C. The web site has to be updated very much and common magazine to promote the common sessions of interest.
D. There shall be Public Relation Representative who make the communication more effective and also make necessary arrangement for getting money for the projects for the regions.
E. There shall be Vatican Strict policy and strategy inorder to get national representative for all the countries.
F. There can be Vatican interactions to the countries for getting the permission for Christian activities in the permissions.
G. There can be training for the chaplaincy.
H. There can be legal representative in the board.
I. We shall not loose the past members of the board and keep them as honorary members.
J. There can be advisory board in each continent and for ICCPPC
3. Declaration of the congress.
A. Spirituality is common for all but support to answer to the problematic situations in their own countries by the government and the church as well.
B. We want to express ourselves as Christians with values and morals even the prisons.
C. There shall be religious freedom in all the prisons in respective countries.
D. We strongly urge Holy See to push strongly the bishops’ conference of each country.
4. Representative of Asia.
Nasr Elie is the representative from Asia.
5. Suggestion to the ICCPPC
Some members of Asia has suggested for three sub regions:
1. Arab countries
Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Litya
2. Armenia and other countries
3. China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan, Srilanka, Nepal , Bangladesh, and India
Fr. Sebastian Vadakumpadan
@ Formation of Asian Executive body
@ Asian ICCPPC Conference in 2019
@Formation of National Prison Ministry in many countries and country Representative
@ Recognition in Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference
@ Finance for the common activities
Fr. Sebastian Vadakumpadan, Asian Delegate of ICCPPC