United Nations committee against torture opens two-day grilling of Vatican over child sex abuse
GENEVA - The Vatican has told a UN committee the Catholic Church has to "clean its own house" in order to repair the damage done to it by priests carrying out child abuse.
The comments came on Monday as the United Nations Committee Against Torture asked questions relating to a report by the Holy See on its compliance with the Convention Against Torture.
"The church has to do its own cleaning of the house," archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the papal envoy to the UN, told the panel at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.
Tomasi said the UN Convention against Torture, signed in 2002, could only be applied to the smallest country in the world - Vatican City State, with a population of less than 1,000 people - and the Holy See had no jurisdiction over every member of the Catholic Church.
Regarding child abuse in the Vatican, Tomasi told reporters: "The damage has been done and the reparation has been continued."
The archbishop was grilled by rapporteurs at the conference for almost two hours.
Questions which were put forward on Monday are due to be answered when the panel resumes on Tuesday afternoon.
In February, The United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child urged the Holy See to ensure the immediate removal of all priests suspected of being connected to child pornography and other crimes.
"The commitee is concerned that in dealing with cases of children pornography committed by members of the clergy, the Holy See has failed to ensure children's right to express their views," the committee said.
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