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With the recent discovery of new evidence that the Vatican ordered Catholic bishops not to cooperate with the civil authorities in Ireland and the United States,  IHEU representative Keith Porteous Wood called upon the Human Rights Council to take action against the Holy See. In a powerfully-delivered speech on Tuesday, 15 March 2011, Keith also attacked the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child for its failure to insist that the Holy See deliver its report on children, now 13 years overdue.

You can see Keith’s speech at: http://www.youtube.com/user/IHEUUnitedNations?feature=mhum#p/f/14/JJL60ovQ5bI

Here is the full text of his statement:

UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL: Tuesday 15 March 2011 

Agenda Item 4: Matters requiring the attention of the Council

Speaker:IHEU Representative, Keith Porteous Wood

Child Abuse and the Holy See

Mr President

At both 12th and 13th sessions of the Council, we exposed several contraventions by the Holy See of the Convention on the Rights of the Child relating to child abuse. Geoffrey Robertson QC’s book, The Case of the Pope lists six [1], including those we have previously noted.

He cites as reasons: “procedural deficiencies of Canon Law, the selfish desire to protect the Church from scandal by harbouring and trafficking paedophile priests, and the negligent supervision of bishops by the CDF office of the Holy See, headed for the previous two decades by Cardinal Ratzinger”.

He believes that “The Holy See’s grave and extensive breaches of the CRC, and its contempt for its reporting obligations over the past thirteen years, should … justify its expulsion.”

On 22 September 2009, the distinguished representative of the Holy See, in exercising their right of reply, did not deny any of our allegations, but claimed that a report, then twelve years overdue, was being “finalized as we speak”. It still remains to be filed.

Recently, Vatican letters to the Bishop of Tucson[2]and the Irish bishops[3]have emerged which confirm the Holy See’s determination to keep wrongdoing from the secular authorities.

Robertson concludes that “It is a serious reflection on the competence and resolve of the ‘eighteen experts of high moral standing’ who have been elected to the Committee on the Rights of the Child that they have done and said nothing about the Vatican’s thirteen-year failure to deliver a report, during the period when widespread child abuse by its priests has been extensively publicized.”

We commend to the Council our report on this matter [A/HRC/16/NGO/92] [4]

We again call upon the Human Rights Council and the Committee to hold the Holy See to account for:

• its breach of its obligations under the CRC;

• its disregard for its duty of care to the abused children;

• its systematic cover-up of thousands of cases of abuse; and

• its failure to adequately control those put in positions of trust with children.

Thank you, Sir.


[1]Nos. 3(1), 6, 19(1), 34, 39 and 44

[2 ]http://www.secularism.org.uk/uploads/rome-to-bishop-tucson.doc

[3] http://www.secularism.org.uk/uploads/nuncio-to-irish-bishops.doc

[4] A/HRC/16/NGO/92 http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G11/113/20/PDF/G1111320.pdf?OpenElementhttp://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G11/113/20/PDF/G1111320.pdf?OpenElement

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