July 22, 2013

A United Nations' committee concerned with children's rights is asking the Vatican to provide complete details about every accusation it has ever received of the sexual abuse of minors by clergy.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child, which monitors implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, published July 1 "a list of issues" it found lacking in the Vatican's latest report on its compliance with the international obligations it accepted when it ratified the convention.

The Vatican is being asked to provide: "detailed information on all cases of child sexual abuse committed by members of the clergy, brothers and nuns"; how it has responded to victims and perpetrators of abuse; whether it ever investigated "complaints of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment" of girls in the Magdalene laundries in Ireland; and how it dealt with allegations that young boys, who were part of the Legion of Christ, were being separated from their families.

The committee is also requesting information on: what the Vatican has done to address discrimination between boys and girls in Catholic schools, including removing sexual stereotypes in school textbooks; whether it has "clearly condemned" corporal punishment of children; if it still labels children born out of wedlock as "illegitimate"; and how it is working to prevent child abandonment and trace infants' identities when Church-run facilities receive unwanted children, including through so-called "baby boxes."