Vatican seeks to prevent sex abuse debate at new UN hearing

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GENEVA – The Vatican on Monday in Geneva urged the ongoing UN hearing on the Holy See’s compliance the international anti-torture convention to use the sitting to review abuse scandals.

Silvano Tomasi, Vatican Envoy, said rather this week’s session should focus strictly on the convention, which defines torture as -sponsored for such purposes as punishment, coercion or discrimination.

He noted that introducing other themes would jeopardise those who are truly being abused, tortured and punished.

Tomasi stressed that the Holy See’s laws share the UN definition of torture and that the Catholic Church, its media and officials were active in spreading the message against such inhumane treatment.

Earlier, non-governmental, mostly the Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) had criticised in their submissions to the committee that the Vatican’s own report did touch on the cases of clergy molesting children.

They accused The Holy See in their submission that it has consistently side-stepped real accountability and serious reform.

Felice Gaer, a committee member also criticised The Holy See, for insisting that the anti-torture convention applies only on the territory of the Vatican, and for clergy operating elsewhere on behalf of the Church.

The committee is scheduled to publish its conclusions on May 23. (dpa/NAN)