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Sunday 19 November 2017

Low number of prosecutions for clerical sex abuse slammed by Amnesty

Sarah Stack

Sarah Stack

THE low number of prosecutions for the violence and sex attacks suffered by children in religious-run institutions has been criticised by Amnesty International.

Prison conditions and mental health services in Ireland were also condemned by the global human rights body.

In its worldwide annual report for 2011, Amnesty said the UN Committee against Torture raised concerns over how few people were prosecuted despite extensive evidence of abuse in a series of state inquiries into clerical child abuse, including the Ryan and Cloyne Reports.

Prison conditions in Ireland, particularly regarding overcrowding, lack of in-cell sanitation, health care and violence were also highlighted by both the UN Committee and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT).

The provision of mental health services continued to be inadequate, it found, while significant delays in asylum seeking process need to be assessed.

However Amnesty said Ireland's commitment to a constitutional convention was an opportunity for real human rights reform.

The Fine Gael and Labour coalition last year vowed to overhaul the constitutional convention in the areas of same-sex marriage and women's equality.

Colm O'Gorman, executive director of Amnesty International Ireland, said: "The constitutional convention should be an opportunity to examine how we can build an equal society where human rights are really protected.

"But many of the issues currently on the convention's agenda are extremely limited.

"The Government must take this opportunity to ensure that our constitution protects human rights that have too long gone ignored in Ireland, like health, housing and income.

"Our leaders must not simply promise to protect human rights.

"They must act, and follow through on our international commitments by putting those rights into practice."

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