Child rights precede reputation of the Catholic church, says UN CommitteeListen /
The Vatican has been told by a United Nations Committee to immediately remove all clergy within the catholic church known or suspected of involvement in child sex abuse.
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child heavily censured the Vatican for failing to put in place measures to address cases of child sex abuse by the clergy and for adopting policies which have led to the continuation of the abuse and impunity of the perpetrators.
The Vatican, also known as the Holy See, was accused of attempting to cover up such crimes by sanctioning the transfer of priests known to be child sexual abusers from parish to parish or to other countries.
The committee further criticized the Vatican for failing to treat child sexual abuse cases as criminal offences and conducting proceedings on such issues behind closed doors, a practice the committee says allows the vast majority of abusers to escape jail proceedings in the countries where the abuses were committed.
Kirsten Sandberg is the chairperson of the Committee on the Rights of the Child.
"The Holy See has consistently placed the preservation of the reputation of the church and the protection of perpetrators above children's best interest. Another matter was the code of silence that was imposed by the church on children and the fact that reporting to national law enforcement authorities has never been made compulsory. We think that it's a horrible thing that's been kept silent both by the Holy See itself and also in the different local parishes. They strongly said that their attitudes have changed over the last few years. Let us hope that this is a new beginning for a more open attitude and more co-operation and removing this condition of silence."
The Committee urged the Vatican to provide compensation to victims of sexual abuse committed by individuals and institutions under its authority without imposing any obligation of confidentiality on the victims.
Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.