21 April 2006


International Exhibition of Prisoners' Paintings to Be Staged at Vienna International Centre

VIENNA, 21 April (UN Information Service) -- To mark the 15th session of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, to be held from 24 to 28 April in Vienna, Austria, over 120 paintings from prisoners around the world will be exhibited in the rotunda of the Vienna International Centre.

The paintings were  selected from submissions to an international competition  entitled "Discover the face of life" organized  by the International Commission for Catholic Prison Pastoral Care (ICCPPC), a non-governmental organization which works  closely with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The first prize went to a grandmother from Ecuador. Support from a number of private and public organizations, including the Austrian Ministry of Justice, enabled each winning artist to receive a grant.

UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa, who frequently visits prisons during his official travels, will open the exhibition at 18:30 hours on Monday 24 April.

"These art works serve as a vivid reminder not only of the creative talent that many prisoners have, but also of the loneliness that many experience," he said. "We all have a responsibility to harness the energies and talents of prisoners in useful and productive ways so that they can make a useful contribution to society."

UNODC, which is the custodian of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, works to assist Member States in designing policy options for penal reform, including alternatives to imprisonment and improving conditions of prisoners.

NGOs such as ICCPPC, which is active in 105 countries, are key partners for UNODC.

Media  representatives are invited to attend the opening of the exhibition.

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For information contact:

Richard Murphy
Chief, Advocacy Section, UNODC
Telephone: +43 1 260 60 5761
E-mail: richard.murphy@unodc.org