HOLY SEE: Joint submission to the UN Committee against Torture on the Holy See

This submission describes the accountability of the Holy See for the worldwide sexual abuse scandal of children by Catholic clerics. The initial report by the Holy See to the Committee Against Torture does not address this pressing issue. In light of the illegality of rape as a form of torture under international human rights law, we hope the Committee Against Torture will include the issue of sexual abuse of children in its review of the responsibilities of Holy See as a state party to the Convention. This should not exclude the responsibility of other states where they may have the possibility to exercise their civilian jurisdiction over sexual abuses of children. 

In particular, we hope that the Committee will recommend to the Holy See, in the concluding observations on the initial state party report, to: 

  • Disclose all information on cases of sexual abuse of children held by the Holy See to the public in order to ensure transparency of cases of sexual abuse of children; 

  • Report all abusive clerics to civil law enforcement bodies in order for individual clerics to be held fully accountable for sexual abuse committed by them; 

  • Introduce a compensation and reparation scheme for victims in compliance with article 14 CAT.

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