Support Catholics For Human Rights Call To Revoke the UN Status Of The Holy See (Vatican)

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Invitation to Support Catholics for Human Rights in their Call to United Nations Secretary-General for Revocation of Nonmember State Permanent Observer Status from the Catholic Church

Join our alliance of Catholics and other friends and networks in demanding revocation of the Holy See’s status at the United Nations. 

The United Nations, by its Charter and subsequent human rights declarations and treaties, must adhere to its foundational principles of equality and non-discrimination. In allowing the Holy See – which is simply the administrative arm of the Roman Catholic  Church -- to enjoy the status of “Nonmember State  Permanent Observer” based on a legal fallacy, the UN has, in effect, created a dangerous precedent allowing a religion to impose its religious codes on the broad framework of human rights that applies to all people without discrimination. Moreover, the Church, which is not a State, explicitly, unequivocally, and systematically excludes women from all leadership, governance, and decision-making processes. It should not be allowed to participate as a State in sessions like the Commission on the Status of Women, founded for the “promotion of women’s rights in political, economic, social, and educational fields.”[1]

Not only does the Church exclude women from its own governance, but its  leadership has also used its moral authority and position at the United Nations to denounce and condemn access to what is at times life-saving, necessary medical care for women and children. Crucial aid packages are diluted, treaties are ignored and important dialogues are derailed due to Church interference. Both the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Committee Against Torture have expressed concern about the ongoing and undisputed global crisis of rape and sexual violence by Catholic clergy and institutional cover-up.

Additionally, and what is not widely understood, is the hybrid status wrongly accorded the Holy See – an administrative body overseeing a religious organization with a tiny enclave in Rome but a virtually global presence and protections afforded sovereigns and religious entities – is a significant factor enabling the widespread sexual violence within the Church. With this status, the Church can invoke sovereign immunity, or diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, to avoid civil suit or criminal prosecution.

We invite all people and organizations who support women’s equality, justice for victims of sexual violence and discrimination, and unobstructed progress in the fulfillment of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals and foundational principles of equality and non-discrimination to sign this petition to the Secretary General to revoke Nonmember State Permanent Observer status from the Catholic Church’s hierarchy. The full letter, sent to H.E. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, is available here

[1] ECOSOC Council resolution 11(II) of 21 June 1946.