Vatican City, 13 May - A three-day conference on immigrants, refugees and displaced persons began on Tuesday at the Vatican.

"The emigrant and itinerant family" is the theme of the 18th meeting of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.

The conference was inaugurated by the council's president Cardinal Renato Martino.

In his opening address, Martino drew from the most recent documents published by the pontifical council, in order to illustrate the guidelines it follows in the various areas in which it undertakes its mission.

The council will discuss the issue of immigrants, refugees and displaced persons, foreign students, nomads, circus workers, tourists and pilgrims, seafarers, airport workers, drivers, women and children who live on the streets, and people of no fixed abode.

The council was established by Pope John Paul II two decades ago.