The Vatican must take action to ensure justice for people who were sexually abused by priests during childhood, a UN independent human rights expert said on Thursday.
Maud de Boer-Buquicchio issued the charge in a statement welcoming the decision by Pope Francis to abolish a Roman Catholic Church policy which maintains secrecy in child abuse cases.
“The veil of secrecy which surrounded these abominable crimes and which prevented victims obtaining justice and reparation has been lifted”, said Ms. De Boer-Buquicchio, who is the Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, appointed by the UN Human Rights Councilin Geneva.
‘Prompt and thorough’ investigations
However, scrapping the policy, known as pontifical secrecy, is just the first step, according to the UN expert.
“The Vatican should now take all necessary measures to ensure that justice and redress for victims around the world is delivered through prompt and thorough investigations that are subject to public scrutiny, the prosecution of alleged perpetrators, and enforce mandatory reporting for all clergy and staff who have knowledge of these heinous acts,” she continued.
“The Church should also enforce zero tolerance policies on child sexual abuse in all institutions under its oversight, making sure it immediately dismisses those found to have abused children.”