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Vatican announces prizes for human-rights work

September 15, 2009

The Vatican has announced the winners of the 2nd annual Van Thuan prizes, given for human-rights work. Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg-- who last year forfeited his constitutional authority to approve legislation, rather than endorse a bill allowing euthanasia-- received this year's top award.

The Van Thuan prizes also include cash grants of €15,000 ($22,000) for development projects. These were awarded to a center for the blind in Thailand, a pastoral center in Colombia, an Italian group supporting missionary work, and a French organization working in impoverished urban neighborhoods.

The awards are named for the late Cardinal Francois-Xavier Van Thuan. The Vietnamese prelate, the former president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, who spent years in prison in solitary confinement in his native land. A cause for his beatification was opened in 2002.


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