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U.N. condemns Vatican child sex abuse cover up

The Vatican is accused of adopting policies that allow priests to rape and molest children

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A scathing report by the United Nations has found that Vatican policies failed to stamp out the sexual abuse of children, the head of a U.N. committee said on Tuesday.

The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child cited a long record of cover-ups that protected abusers, and questioned the real impact of the zero tolerance approach announced by former pontiff Benedict XVI and his successor Pope Francis.

“The simple answer is yes, they are in breach of the Convention as up to now, because they haven’t done all the things that they should have done,” said Kirsten Sandberg, head of the committee.

Sandberg’s comments came after the committee issued the report on the Vatican’s implementation of the 1989 U.N. convention on child rights.

In the report, the committee expressed its “deepest concern about child sexual abuse committed by members of the Catholic churches who operate under the authority of the Holy See, with clerics having been involved in the sexual abuse of tens of thousands of children worldwide.

It also blasted the “practice of offenders’ mobility,” referring to the transfer of child abusers from parish to parish within countries, and sometimes abroad.

The committee said this practice places “children in many countries at high risk of sexual abuse, as dozens of child sexual offenders are reported to be still in contact with children”.

The report also called on a commission created by Pope Francis in December to investigate all cases of child sexual abuse “as well as the conduct of the Catholic hierarchy in dealing with them.”

(With AFP and Reuters)