Amnesty names Vatican over human rights abuses


THE VATICAN and Ireland are criticised in connection with child protection issues in the Amnesty International Report 2011: The State of the World’s Human Rights,published later this morning on the eve of Amnesty International’s 50th anniversary.

The 400-page report examines human rights in 157 countries and, for the first time, also includes the Holy See.

It has found that, in Ireland, “child protection standards were inadequate in both law and practice” and that “the Holy See did not sufficiently comply with its international obligations relating to the protection of children”.

It found that the Irish Government “failed to implement a number of commitments it made in 2009 following the report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse .

“This included a failure to introduce draft legislation to give child protection guidelines a statutory basis.”

It said that “in February [2010], the all-party Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children proposed a new constitutional provision on children’s rights. However, the Government did not schedule the required referendum in 2010 as promised.”

It continued that “there were serious concerns about the lack of adequate investigation and transparent reporting by the Health Service Executive on deaths of children in State child protection services.

“In March (2010), the Government established an Independent Child Death Review Group to review the executive’s investigations into the deaths of children in care.”

Where the Vatican was concerned, the Amnesty report says that “in May (2010), the Holy See submitted its initial reports on the optional protocols to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which, at the end of the year, had yet to be considered by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.”

However, it continued, “by the year’s end, the Holy See had again failed to submit its second periodic report on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, due in 1997, and the initial report on the UN Convention against Torture, due in 2003.” It found there was “increasing evidence of widespread child sexual abuse committed by members of the clergy over the past decades, and the enduring failure of the Catholic Church to address these crimes properly, continued to emerge in various countries”.

Such failures “included not removing alleged perpetrators from their posts pending proper investigations, not co-operating with judicial authorities to bring them to justice and not ensuring proper reparation to victims”.

It recalls that “the pope acknowledged the abuses during visits to countries where they had been reported . . . and expressed regret.

“He affirmed that ‘just penalties’ should be imposed to exclude perpetrators from access to young people and stressed that to prevent abuses, education and selection of candidates for priesthood should be improved.”