NY - Victims Challenge Vatican at UN on Clergy Sex Cases

Catholic Officials in Violation of Treaty on Rights of the Child

December 10, 2013, New York – Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their attorneys will announce a formal new filing in their challenge of the Vatican before the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child tomorrow. The submission will address recent cover-ups in the Church and the Holy See’s claims to the committee that it is only responsible for what happens within the walls of Vatican City.

WHAT:   Press conference to demand Vatican answer questions posed by UN Committee and outline plans for January Geneva panel

WHEN:  Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 1:00 pm

WHERE:  Outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral (5th Avenue entrance) in New York City

WHO: Leaders of two non-profit groups – the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP)

WHY:  In advance of an unprecedented meeting next month in Geneva, CCR and SNAP are submitting a new filing to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The document presents evidence of recent wrongdoing in a number of clergy sex abuse and cover-up cases and addresses the Vatican’s failure last week to respond substantively to the CRC’s request for information about the church’s global scandal.

The controversy centers on the question of whether or not the Vatican is abiding by a treaty it signed in 1990, the Convention on the Rights of the Child. CCR and SNAP outline the ways in which the Church is violation of that treaty.

Next month, for perhaps the first time ever, high ranking Vatican officials will travel to Geneva for an open meeting with the UN panel. They are expected to face tough questions from panel members and to defend the church hierarchy’s track record in these cases. Representatives from SNAP and the Center for Constitutional Rights will be in attendance.

In June, CCR & SNAP leaders provided testimony to and answered questions from the UN panel. In February, the two groups submitted a 22-page report to the CRC.

The Vatican was more than a decade late in submitting its report under the treaty. [PS1] 

In a separate case, in Sept. 2011, CCR and SNAP filed a 71 page formal complaint – backed by thousands of pages of documentation – asked the International Criminal Court at The Hague to investigate four top Vatican officials for “enabling or concealing widespread rape and sexual abuse of children around the world.”[PS2] 

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