The UN wants the Abbott government to take on the Vatican over documents relating to child abuse by Catholic clergy.
In a report handed down in Geneva on Friday, the United Nations Committee Against Torture welcomed the work of the national royal commission into child sexual abuse.
However, the Australian government should take “all appropriate measures” to get “all evidence” from the Vatican to ensure meaningful investigations can be carried out.
Cardinal George Pell has told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse such a request is unreasonable because some documents are private and internal to a sovereign state – the Vatican.
Earlier in November, a delegation from Canberra told the UN the royal commission was independent and it was up to it to pursue the Vatican.
However, the committee said Australia “has the responsibility to ensure that all reports of breaches of the convention are promptly and impartially investigated”, and it should seek help from the Vatican when it was necessary to do this.
It also “remains concerned as to whether the outcome of its (the royal commission’s) work will result in criminal investigations, prosecutions and redress and compensation for victims”.
It urged Australia to ensure the work of the commission supplemented criminal prosecutions and court proceedings and “is not a substitute for them”.
A royal commission spokesman told AAP this week it was pursuing further documents from the Vatican, which has supplied some material relating to specific cases.
He was unable to say if the inquiry was seeking government help to press the issue with the Vatican.
© 2014 AAP
Source: Brisbane Times