Claudia Rosett, a reporter's reporter on U.N. malfeasance, takes Turtle Bay's recent report on the Vatican apart blow by blow.
The report calls for transparency on child abuse allegations. Well, we're all for that but first, the Vatican, under Pope Benedict, HAS addressed clerical malfeasance openly. But secondly, as we've chronicled here (and here and here) over the years, it's pretty rich hearing about transparency from the UN, which routinely covers over sex trafficking and rape perpetrated by its "peacekeeping forces."
Exposing abusers and holding them to account is a great idea. The Vatican has spent years addressing the scandal of its own past handling of such cases. But the U.N. hardly engages in the transparency it is now promoting.The report calls for the Vatican to drop its opposition to abortion, birth control and homosexuality and drop its reservations on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child -- which is pretty rich from a committee made up of members from Syria, Saudia Arabia, Bahrain, Tunisia and Egypt among others. Indeed, Rosett shows that not only is the report specious (is Egypt seriously giving the Vatican lectures on human treatment of homosexuals?), but it's cowardly:
The U.N. releases only generic statistics on violations committed by personnel working under its flag. The U.N. doesn't share with the public such basic information as the names of the accused or the details of what they did to people the U.N. dispatched them to protect. Blue berets accused of sex crimes are simply sent back to their home countries, where in the majority of cases they drop off the radar.
Though the U.N. has been recording a drop in sex-abuse cases since it began releasing numbers in 2007, the number of alleged instances of rape and exploitation each year still runs into the dozens. (This may understate the realities, given the hurdles to victims coming forward, often in societies in tumult or at war.) From 2007-13, the U.N. reported more than 600 allegations of rape or sexual exploitation, with 354 substantiated—many of them involving minors. The numbers do not convey how ugly some of these cases get. Details can occasionally be gleaned when an incident seeps past the U.N. wall of omerta and makes it into the news, as with the peacekeeper gang rape in 2011 of a Haitian teenager, whose agony was caught on video.
A stark example of selective reporting can be found in the committee's most recent observations on Saudi Arabia—issued eight years ago. That report mentioned the case of a 2002 fire at a girls school in Mecca, a disaster in which 15 girls died and dozens more were injured. Expressing "grave concern" that "the school building did not meet adequate safety standards for children," the committee recommended that school buildings be made safer and that staff be trained for such emergencies.Burn girls to death rather than allow them out without abayas? Ok! But don't dare deny them the birth control and abortion we need for our Blue Hats and others to mask their abuse of girls. (But who the hell cares? It's only women.)
What the committee did not mention was that when the schoolgirls tried to escape the fire, Saudi Islamic-morality police drove the students back into the burning building because they were not covered head-to-toe in the scarves and abayas required in public. Saudi journalists had the courage to report on this monstrous element of the tragedy. The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child left it out.
Or take North Korea, where state policy has led to famines that resulted in the stunting and mass starvation of children, and where disloyalty to the supreme leader can be punished by sending three generations of a family, including children, to prison-labor camps. In assessing North Korea, the U.N. committee in its most recent report released in 2009 expressed concern about"severe ill-treatment" of children and noted with "deep concern" that "the overall standard of living of children remains very low." But there was none of the fervor with which the committee has denounced the Vatican for failing to explicitly forbid corporal punishment. On that the committee was more than merely concerned, scolding the Holy See to ensure that "all forms of violence against children, however light, are unacceptable."It's obvious the report is the animus-laden product of progressives who haven't the courage or the power to stand up for children against the world's most vicious regimes. The Holy See issued a diplomatic and measured -- but by its terms scathing-- response to the report.