Pope must take decisive action against child abuse by clergy

The Pope must ensure decisive global action against  the sexual abuse of children by priests in the Roman Catholic Church, Amnesty International said on the eve of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the UK.”We welcome the acknowledgement by Pope Benedict of the gravity of such abuse, but we expect the Pope to ensure that no more children suffer from sexual abuse at the hands of priests and that those who have already suffered are able to seek justice and receive reparations,” said Claudio Cordone, Senior Director at Amnesty International.Pope Benedict XVI is to begin a four-day state visit to the UK on Thursday, the first ever state visit to the UK by a Pope.Amnesty International’s call comes amid continuing growing evidence of child abuse within the Catholic Church and of the failures to ensure that perpetrators were brought to justice.The Holy See is obligated under international law to protect children’s human rights, ensure that perpetrators of child abuse are brought to justice and provide reparations to victims but it is yet to fulfil its reporting obligations to the UN bodies monitoring the implementation of the Conventions against Torture and on the Rights of the Child.”The Holy See must ensure that Catholic Church officials  cooperate with criminal investigations, open up records of its internal inquiries, and offer an apology and reparations to all survivors of abuse,” said Claudio Cordone.Amnesty International also called on The Holy See to stop opposing the recognition of sexual and reproductive rights and to support women and men to exercise these rights free from coercion, discrimination and violence. The organization wrote to Pope Benedict in June 2010 urging full compliance by the Holy See with its international obligations and seeking information on measures taken on this issue, but received no response”Just as the Holy See has been a welcome voice against the death penalty and other important human rights issues, so it can be against the disempowerment and discrimination faced by women, men, boys and girls in countries all over the world. We need to hear the voice and see action by Catholic church leaders around the world on these issues too,” said Claudio Cordone.