A United Nations panel, the Committee against Torture, has asked the Irish government to investigate allegations of mistreatment of young women who used to work in Catholic laundries. Specifically, the panel says that alleged abuses in the so-called Magdalene Laundries, workhouses run by nuns from the 1920s to the mid-1990s, should be investigated with an eye towards prosecuting the guilty parties.
Catholic League president Bill Donohue addressed this issue today:
The Irish government correctly notes that it cannot “rewrite its history or right the wrongs that were done.” It should have used stronger language: it is obscene for an international body to hold the women religious of one nation accountable for alleged abuses that took place nearly a century ago. If this is the new standard of justice, then no nation can claim innocence. What’s driving this initiative is more than revisionist history—it smacks of an agenda.
Ironically, of the ten nations on the U.N. Committee against Torture that are recommending the investigation, half of them are guilty of torture today! Freedom House’s latest annual report says that “arbitrary arrest and torture” still exists in Morocco. Amnesty International said last year that “Senegal’s security forces continue to torture suspects held in custody, sometimes to death.” Regarding Cyprus, in a June 4 “Special Report” by Cyprusnewsreport.com, it said that “Human trafficking is a huge problem in the north of the island” and that “cabaret owners routinely threaten women with torture in chambers beneath their nightclubs.” Last year, the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims said that “torture and ill-treatment” are “still highly prevalent” in Ecuador. And Freedom House concludes that “torture remains widespread” in China today.
From top to bottom, this entire attack on Irish nuns reeks of politics and intellectual dishonesty.