United Nations grills Vatican

The Vatican’s response to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child over its handling of allegations of child sex abuse was found unsatisfactory by a US-based victims advocacy group.

Representatives from the Holy See are being publicly questioned for the first time by an international panel at the Palais Wilson in Geneva over the child abuse scandal.

The U.N. panel will assess the Church’s adherence to the 1990 U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, a treaty guaranteeing a full range of human rights for children, which the Holy See has signed.

Members of the Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests say they are disappointed with the Vatican’s response.

[Miguel Hurtado, SNAP Member]:
“I was very deceived, very disappointed by the reply of the Vatican because they are not replying to questions that they were asked by the commission. The commission didn’t ask for guidelines, because guidelines are as good as they are implemented. They were asking for implementation. They were asking for particular cases, for particular instances and how they have dealt with that and the reply of the Vatican is that it only had jurisdiction over 30 children. Obviously the Catholic Church has one billion followers and it has influence over a lot more children’s lives than these 30 that they mention.”

Founder, Barbara Blaine says there are over 100-thousand victims in the US alone, and many more around the world.

[Barbara Blaine, Founder of SNAP]:
“The fact that they continue to claim that they have jurisdiction only over the Vatican City is really disappointing because we know full well that they have jurisdiction over every bishop in the whole world and what we want to see is the Vatican punish the bishops who cover up the sex crimes. And we want them to turn over the information they have about crimes to police.”

In Germany, a Catholic priest named only as Andreas L admitted to 280 instances of sexual abuse involving three boys over eight years.

In December 2013, Pope Francis ordered the formation of a child protection committee to address the sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church and consider ways to better screen priests.

In the same month, however, the Vatican refused to provide the United Nations rights panel with information on the Church’s internal investigations into the sexual abuse of children by clergy.

The CRC will publish on February 5 its concluding observations of the report delivered by the Vatican on Thursday, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.


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