During the 30th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, the European Humanist Federation (EHF) and the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) have issued a joint written statement and an oral statement raising the Holy See’s (HS) continued failure to protect the rights of the child.
Last year, following years of National Secular Society (EHF member) campaigning to bring the Catholic Church to account for abuse against minors, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child issued a scathing report accusing the Vatican of putting the reputation and interests of the Holy See above the interests of children.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed “deep concern about child sexual abuse committed by members of the Catholic Church operating under the authority of the HS” and said it was “gravely concerned that the HS has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, nor taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which have enabled the continuation of sexual abuse by clerics and impunity for the perpetrators.”
In light of the Holy See’s refusal to engage with the serious criticisms presented to it, IHEU and the EHF have called on the Human Rights Council to press the Holy See to
“- accept its Convention obligation to do everything in its power to enforce the Convention worldwide;
“- make all information on Child Abuse, including suspected perpetrators and facilitators, held by the Church worldwide (including under the auspices of the VCS) available to relevant law enforcement authorities;
“- instruct the Church worldwide to report suspected perpetrators and facilitators to national law enforcement authorities even when not required to do so by local law;
“- instruct the Church worldwide, and its lawyers and insurers, to fairly and expeditiously settle claims and cases against the Church, including for compensation.”
The statement, prepared by the National Secular Society (UK), an affiliate of both IHEU and EHF, accuses the Vatican of “almost entirely ignoring the concluding recommendations of the Committee [on the Rights of the Child]”.
For more information see:
Sexual violence against minors: The Holy See’s failure to protect the rights of the child