UN presses Vatican for details on child abuse scandals

The UN has called on the Vatican to hand over details in the cases of tens of thousands of children allegedly abused by clergy.

The Geneva-based Committee on the Rights of the Child published a detailed "list of issues" it wants Rome to address before Holy See officials go before the body next January.

The list, published on the committee's website earlier this week, calls on the Vatican to give "detailed information" on cases of alleged abuse "committed by members of the clergy, brothers and nuns".

The committee said it wanted to know what measures the Church has put in place to ensure clergy members accused of sexual abuse were cut off from contact with children.

It has also asked what support has been given to victims of sexual abuse by the Holy See.

Moreover, the UN has requested details where kids "were silenced in order to minimise the risk of public disclosure" and what measures the Vatican has taken to prevent further abuse.

The UN has long raised concerns about the ongoing paedophile priest scandal, but the committee's list represents its most far-reaching request for information about the cases.

Pope Francis has vowed to "act with determination in cases of sexual abuse".

His predecessor Benedict XVI was the first pontiff to apologise to victims.

However, campaigners have argued that Vatican words outstrip action when it comes to tackling the widespread problem of abuse and subsequent cover-ups.

The list also includes questions about other issues, including its labelling of kids born outside wedlock as "illegitimate".

It also asks about physical abuse, forced labour and degrading treatment suffered by girls in the Magdalene's laundries run by Catholic Sisters in Ireland from 1922 to 1996.