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UN calls for probe of abuse in Church-run institutions; notes state connection

Catholic World News - June 06, 2011

The UN Committee Against Torture has called for an investigation of abuses in Ireland’s Church-administered Magdalene Laundries, and said that victims of the institutions should receive compensation.

The UN panel urged the Irish government to begin “prompt, independent, and thorough investigations into all allegations of torture, and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment that were allegedly committed" at the institutions. The Magdalene Laundries were operated by religious orders, and housed young women who had been institutionalized for minor crimes or who were unwed mothers.

Although they were administered by religious orders, the Magdalene Laundries housed young women who had been committed to their care by the state. The UN panel, noting that relationship, said that “the state directly participated” in the institutions and should shoulder some responsibility for the mistreatment that occurred in them.

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  • Posted by: - Jun. 06, 2011 11:37 PM ET USA

    To read of the conditions and actions within the 'Magdalene Laundries' is to be appalled and shocked. It is not an exaggeration to say that the religious who ran them must have been cruel and dour and loveless individuals; and, surely they were acting out of self-loathing. But this was not a peculiar fault of the Irish. Both the Church of Ireland and that of Quebec have shown us that a dour and loveless Church is bound to die; but getting the UN involved is just folly. As usual.

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