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UN urges Vatican to use 'moral authority' to protect gays

Human rights group asks Church to fight laws against homosexuals

05 February, 14:26
UN urges Vatican to use 'moral authority' to protect gays (ANSA) - Geneva, February 5 - A United Nations human rights committee urged the Vatican Wednesday to make "full use" of its moral authority to support efforts at decriminalizing homosexuality. The comments came in a report on sexual violence against children by church clergy.

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child said it welcomed statements made in July by Pope Francis, expressing his concern about the past remarks from the Holy See condemning homosexuality.

Francis said then that such statements contribute to stigmatization and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

The UN committee said the Church should now go further and "make full use of its moral authority to condemn all forms of harassment, discrimination or violence against children based on their sexual orientation or the sexual orientation of their parents and to support efforts at international level for the decriminalisation of homosexuality". Homosexuality is outlawed in some countries and Russia recently gained international attention for its law banning the promotion of "non-traditional" sexuality - widely seen as an attack on gay rights. The law makes providing information on homosexuality to under-18s a crime, punishable by a fine.

Human rights activists say that is so broad a law that any kind of homosexual behavior could be considered to be in breach of that law.

With the Winter Olympics opening later this week in Russia, the law has drawn extra attention.