Representatives of clerical abuse victims from all over the world decided to join forces, launching the organisation Ending Clerical Abuse (ECA) to seek justice for victims and hold accountable bishops who covered up the cases.

About 20 men and women from countries including the United States, Chile, France and Jamaica gathered at a news conference in Geneva to denounce the crimes, calling on Pope Francis to put in place an independent tribunal to bring to justice those who remained silent in the face of sexual abuse.

Holding a sign with their national flag on one side and a photo of the bishop who they accuse of covering up abuse on the other, they took it in turns to give short speeches telling their story.

Chilean Juan Carlos Claret held up a picture of Bishop Juan Barros, dogged by allegations that he concealed the abuse of minors which prompted an intervention by the Pope in April.

Bishop Barros has repeatedly denied the accusations.

ECA members said the Church could not be left to investigate allegations on its own and that independent bodies should be set up.

ECA describes itself as a human rights organisation and its launch comes two weeks before Pope Francis's visit to Geneva.