The UN Committee for the Rights of the Child recently released their “Concluding observations on the combined fourth and fifth periodic reports of Mexico.”
Much in the June 5 report wasn’t surprising: drug cartels are recruiting and using children for violence and children have been murdered and/or have gone missing in non-state violent activities. The committee also stated that migrant children are being targeted for abuse, killings and sexual violence.
But sections 35 and 36 of the report were striking (emphasis mine):
35. The Committee is deeply concerned about corroborated reports that hundreds of children have been sexually abused for years by clerics of the Catholic Church and other religious faiths The Committee is particularly concerned about the general impunity which perpetrators have enjoyed so far, as recognized by the State party’s delegation, about the low number of investigations and prosecutions of the perpetrators as well as alleged complicity of state officials, as well as about the lack of complaints mechanisms, services and compensation available to children.
36. The Committee strongly urges the State party to:
(a) Take immediate measures to investigate and prosecute all members of the Roman Catholic clergy and other religious faiths involved in or accomplices of sexual abuse and exploitation of children, and ensure that those found guilty be provided with sanctions commensurate with the gravity of their crime;
(b) Provide children victims of sexual abuse with all necessary services for their physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration, and adequately compensate them;
(c) Ensure that specific measures taken to prevent sexual abuse by clerics become part of all policies related to violence against children and that empowered children learn how to protect themselves from sexual abuse and are aware of the mechanism they can refer to in case of such abuses;
(d) Take concrete measures to raise awareness on this type of abuse in order to overcome social acceptance and taboo surrounding these crimes;
(e) Collect disaggregated data related to cases of sexual abuse against children involving the Roman Catholic clergy and provide detailed information in its next report on the convictions and sentences pronounced.