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Amnesty International demands action as Ireland child protection standards found lacking

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Child protection standards in both Ireland and the Vatican have been strongly criticized by a hard hitting new Amnesty International report.

The 400 page report, titled "Amnesty International Report 2011: The State of the World’s Human Rights" closely examines human rights in 157 countries and for the first time it includes the Holy See.

In Ireland, the report claims, "child protection standards were inadequate in both law and practice" and in Rome "the Holy See did not sufficiently comply with its international obligations relating to the protection of children."

Amnesty claimed the Irish Government "failed to implement a number of commitments that it made in 2009 following the report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse. This included a failure to introduce draft legislation to give child protection guidelines a statutory basis.”

The report, which was quoted in the Irish Times, said that "in February 2010, the all-party Oireachtas (National Parliament) Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children proposed a new constitutional provision on children’s rights. However, the Government did not schedule the required referendum in 2010 as promised."

The report added that "there were serious concerns about the lack of adequate investigation and transparent reporting by the Health Service Executive on deaths of children in State child protection services."

Concerning the Vatican, the Amnesty report said that "in May, 2010, the Holy See submitted its initial reports on the optional protocols to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which, at the end of the year, had yet to be considered by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child."

The report also noted that "by the year’s end, the Holy See had again failed to submit its second periodic report on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, due in 1997, and the initial report on the UN Convention against Torture, due in 2003."

Amnesty found there was "increasing evidence of widespread child sexual abuse committed by members of the clergy over the past decades, and the enduring failure of the Catholic Church to address these crimes properly, continued to emerge in various countries."

The failures listed in the report "included not removing alleged perpetrators from their posts pending proper investigations, not co-operating with judicial authorities to bring them to justice and not ensuring proper reparation to victims."
 

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