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Caritas warns of chronic poverty in Europe, urges protection of poor

A report by Caritas said poverty is growing in Europe and urged steps to protect weak and vulnerable social groups.

"The collapse of the Soviet Union has resulted in the emergence of over 150 million 'new poor' and prompted a redrawing of the development map," said a special report by Caritas Europe released in February.

Anti-poverty programs should "tackle the root causes" by offering a "matrix of multisectoral programs," it said. The report attributed a growing awareness of "the interrelatedness of poverty, population, human rights, health and gender issues" to accelerated globalisation.

It also said 130 million people in Europe were considered income poor."

The facts "cannot reveal the depth of human pain and misery experienced by millions of people living on islands of poverty -- as pensioners, homeless persons, long-term unemployed, lone parents -- amidst a sea of plenty," it said.

Based in Brussels, Caritas Europe is one of seven regional arms of Caritas Internationalis, an umbrella Catholic aid organization that represents relief and development agencies in more than 190 countries. The report was compiled from data from 43 countries, with populations ranging from 33,000 in Monaco to 146.2 million in Russia.



8 Mar 2002