UN accuses Vatican of child sex abuse cover-up

A scathing United Nations report has demanded the Vatican "immediatedly remove" all clergy who are known or suspected child abusers and hand them to the authorities.

Vatican to give 'thorough study' to scathing UN report

The Vatican, led by Pope Francis, has said it remains committed to defending and protecting the rights of children. Credit: Reuters/Tony Gentile

The Vatican has said it will give "thorough study and examination" to a UN report that has accused the Catholic Church of failing to act on, and even covering up, child sex abuse.

The Holy See made no comment on its suggested culpability but said the Church remained committed to protecting children from abuse.

However, it accused the UN committee responsible for the report of interfering with its teachings on abortion and contraception after the report recommended a change in the approach to sexual education in Catholic schools.

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UN seeks compensation for Magdalene scandal victims

The UN committee on the Rights of the Child has said the Catholic Church has not yet taken measures to prevent a repeat of cases of forced labour such as Ireland's Magdalene laundries scandal.

A man walks past a memorial at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin to those who worked in the Magdalene Laundries. Credit: Reuters/Cathal McNaughton

A separate official report, published in February last year, found the Irish state was responsible for sending many women and girls to the now-notorious laundries, where they were subjected to a harsh regime of intimidation, prayer and unpaid work.

Today's UN report has called for the Vatican to begin an internal investigation of the laundries and similar institutions to lead to appropriate prosecutions. It has demanded that "full compensation be paid to the victims and their families" upon its completion.

The Vatican is expected to issue a statement on the damning UN report later today.

UN accuses Vatican of child sex abuse cover-up

A scathing United Nations report has demanded the Vatican "immediatedly remove" all clergy who are known or suspected child abusers and hand them to the authorities.

A commission recently created by Pope Francis should probe Vatican conduct in dealing with child sex abuse cases. Credit: Reuters/Tony Gentile

In its most far-reaching criticism of the Church hierarchy to date, the UN watchdog for children's rights said it is "gravely concerned" the Holy See "has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed".

It accused the Vatican of adopting "policies and practices" which led to abuse continuing and ensured "the impunity of the perpetrators".

The UN body said the Church must hand over its archives on sexual abuse of tens of thousands of children so that culprits, as well as "those who concealed their crimes", can be held accountable.

Read: Pope Benedict breaks silence to deny abuse cover-up