UN says Church must do more to stop abuse

The United Nations report on the abuse crisis in the Church was sent to the Vatican in April and published on a UN website yesterday (CNS photo/Yana Paskova, Reuters)

While acknowledging Vatican-mandated reforms in the handling of clerical sexual abuse,the United Nations has pressed the Vatican to make it mandatory that Church officials everywhere report abuse allegations to civil authorities. Source: CNS.

The four United Nations special rapporteurs, volunteers who investigate and make recommendations on behalf of the UN Human Rights Council, also expressed “concern about the continued efforts of members of the Catholic Church to undermine legislative efforts to improve the prosecution of sexual abuse against children in national courts” and to lobby legislatures “to preserve the statute of limitations on these crimes”.

The report, sent to the Vatican in April and published on the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights yesterday, was written by special rapporteurs working on the promotion of truth, justice and reparation; on the sale and sexual exploitation of children; on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; and on the rights of persons with disabilities.

Vatican law requires Church officials to follow local laws that mandate reporting of allegations to police and other civil authorities, and even when not required to do so, they are encouraged to report the crimes. However, in explaining the lack of a blanket mandate, Vatican officials frequently have maintained that in some countries the reporting of an allegation could lead to persecution rather than the fair prosecution of a crime.

The rapporteurs asked the Vatican to establish an independent “investigative mechanism to clarify and establish the truth about all allegations of sexual violence committed against children” by Catholic priests around the world.

FULL STORY

U.N. investigators call on church to do more to stop abuse (By Cindy Wooden, CNS via Catholic Register)

RELATED COVERAGE

UN says Church must do more to stop abuse (The Tablet)

UN experts’ letter to Vatican has ‘no real teeth,’ says Church official (CNA

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