On October 9, 2017, a meeting of the Pastoral Council for Pastoral Care in the Penitentiary System of Ukraine took place in the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine.
The meeting has been attended by Deputy Minister of Justice Denis Chernyshov, Director of the Probation Department Oleg Yanchuk, experts from the Ministry of Justice, representatives of the Unit for Special Proceedings of the Secretariat of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Valentina Obolentseva and Julia Rudnitskaya, as well as Oleksandr Zayets, Chairman of the Board of the Institute of Religious Freedom. Developing the procedure for reacting of chaplains to cases of torture of prisoners has become the leading topic of the meeting. The participants discussed the National Ppreventive Mechanisms, the relevant Guidance of the International Commission of Catholic Prison Pastoral Care and the practice of the European Court for Human Rights.
"According to the International Convention, the prohibition of torture and inhuman treatment is absolute. Since chaplains and volunteers of the pastoral ministry of different confessions sometimes have the opportunity to visit prisons and colonies, in circumstances beyond reach of human rights defenders and even supervisors, they are also required to prevent cases of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment for prisoners.This subject requires consistent study and clear rules so that each chaplain can act on the principle of "no harm" and be effective", - summed up the head of the Pastoral Council Fr. Constantin Panteley.
Participants agreed to prepare a seminar in late November for representatives of confessions and the penitentiary system in order to elaborate a procedure for the chaplain in case of revealing facts of use of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment for prisoners.
Representatives of Churches and state officials discussed the issue of drafting a code of ethics for the chaplain, the development of further cooperation by concluding an agreement between the Ministry of Justice and religious organizations that are members of the Pastoral Council and conducting joint activities, including participation in the conference of the European branch of the International Prison Chaplains Association (IPCA-Europe) in April 2018.
UGCC Prison Pastoral Care