UN committee reviews Holy See's child protection efforts

2014-01-16 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) A UN committee has been examining a report presented at a hearing at the United Nations in Geneva by a Holy See Delegation on the application of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Attending the UN Committee hearing on Thursday were Archbishop Silvano Tomasi Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva and Bishop Charles Scicluna who previously served as Promoter of Justice at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The committee is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which the Holy See is a signatory.
Among other things the agreement calls for signatories to take all appropriate measures to protect children from harm and to put children's interests above all else.
In his opening statement to the Committee on Thursday Archbishop Tomasi said “there is no excuse for any form of violence or exploitation of children. Such crimes can never be justified”.
Speaking to Vatican Radio the Archbishop said the hearing was an “occasion to start a dialogue between the Holy See and the experts in order to facilitate and to improve the protection of children.

He said, “we will very gladly take this occasion as a constructive moment, an important occasion, to reaffirm the value and the procedures of the convention and to accept any good advice that is given for that can be helpful in the protection of children.”

Asked about criticism the Holy See had received on the issue of child protection Archishop Tomasi stressed that as far as the Holy See is concerned a crime is a crime and is subject to prosecution.

He said “the policy and good sense of the Holy See is to encourage the prosecution of any crime, including crimes, and especially crimes, against children.”

Noting that the Holy Father had already announced the establishment of a commission for the protection of minors, the Archbishop said the task ahead is to strengthen the good steps and the good measures that have already been taken and to continue to maintain as a priority the protection of children. Listen to Lydia O’Kane’s report