The United Nations (UN) made it known that, after an injunction sent in April that established a period of 60 days, the Vatican still does not respond to the international body on cases of sexual abuse committed in religious institutions in eight countries , including Argentina. “Given the lack of response from the authorities of the Catholic Church, the issue will be analyzed as a state problem in the UN Assembly,” he told Page 12 Sergio Salinas, plaintiff lawyer in the cause of corruption of girls and boys at the Instituto Próvolo de Mendoza.
Xumek, a Human Rights organization whose lawyers are plaintiffs in the Próvolo Case, pointed out that the UN claim was made through the Special Rapporteur “on the p“promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition” of the denounced events. The cases occurred in Argentina, Germany, Belgium, France, Canada, Chile, Mexico, and Colombia. Xumek is one of the organizations that filed complaints with the UN in 2020.
Some cases are related to “the sale and sexual exploitation of children, including child prostitution and the use of children in pornography”.
In February of last year, the Xumek representatives, through the Collective for the Restitution of Rights to the victims of El Próvolo and the lawyers Lucas Lecour and Sergio Salinas, joined the ECA (Ending Clergy Abuse) lawsuit, which seeks “Put an end to ecclesiastical abuse.” The joint complaint before the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was to request explanations and reparation from the Holy See.
On April 7, the UN Rapporteurs summoned the Vatican to respond to the following points within 60 days:
– Give results of recent research in relation to the sexual abuse of children. Report on regulations to establish the obligation to notify civil authorities, without fear of reprisals, all suspected cases of sexual abuse.
–Inform if the transfer of authorities of the Catholic Church accused of abuses has been prohibited.
– Provide details on the measures taken to detect, respond to, and remedy all forms of violence and abuse.
– Detail the measures adopted to guarantee the non-repetition of the denounced events.
–Provide information on concrete measures to ensure a rigorous investigation and background checks of members of the clergy.
–Inform if a public apology has been issued for the events that occurred.
–Provide information on steps taken to ensure that anyone convicted of being involved in sexual abuse is removed from the hierarchy of the Church.
In relation to the Próvolo, the second oral trial is being carried out, where the nuns Kosaka Kumiko and Asunción Martínez are accused, along with seven lay women who were directors or employees of the institute. In the first trial, priests Horacio Corbacho and Nicola Corradi were convicted of aberrant acts against children in their care.
The Xumek, regarding the events that occurred in the Próvolo, pointed out that “the complaints against the Vatican Emissary, Dante Simón, for non-compliance with a judicial order that obliges him to inform the Mendoza Justice of the internal investigations that the Catholic Church had realized in relation to the Provolo. The request was made a year ago.
Although the UN lacks punitive power over countries, including the Vatican, the international body’s report “sets an enormous precedent” for this type of sexual crime. The Xumek hopes that “the survivors of the Próvolo finally agree to the request for justice and so that ecclesiastical sexual abuse never occurs again.”
The UN request to the Vatican includes the mention of cases that occurred in seven other countries, in addition to Argentina. In Germany, in September 2018, a report commissioned by the Episcopal Conference revealed the existence of 1,670 abuses by clergymen and 3,677 victims. There the practice of transferring accused priests to other places was put into evidence.
In Belgium, Catholic and government authorities have verified more than a thousand cases of abuse. In France, the Episcopal Conference, through an independent commission, established the existence of 4,000 victims of abuse and 1,500 alleged perpetrators.
In Canada, in 2006, it was found that indigenous children, forcibly separated from their families, were sent to schools during a 120-year history. About 3,200 of those children have died and 31,970 have been sexually assaulted. In Chile, there were 344 complaints against clergymen accused of sexually assaulting minors.
In Mexico, the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ admitted that 33 members of the order abused 175 minors. Eleven of the perpetrators had been raped by the founder of the congregation and later became abusers themselves. In Colombia, the Cardinal Archbishop of Bogotá reported, in 2019, twelve cases of sexual abuse in his archdiocese. In addition, more than a hundred cases were reported, although an official list on the subject has never been delivered until now.