(A woman walks past posters advertising a candlelit vigil at the University Hospital Galway in Galway, Ireland November 15, 2012. Ireland's government on Thursday pledged to clarify its abortion laws after a woman, who was denied a termination, died from septicaemia in an Irish hospital. Thousands held a candle-lit vigil outside parliament on Wednesday after news broke of the death of Savita Halappanavar, an Indian Hindu, following a miscarriage 17 weeks into her pregnancy. Activists in Ireland, an overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country which has some of the world's most restrictive laws on abortion, say a lack of legal clarity about when terminations are justified may have contributed to her death.REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton)

(A woman walks past posters advertising a candlelit vigil at the University Hospital Galway in Galway, Ireland November 15, 2012. Ireland’s government on Thursday pledged to clarify its abortion laws after a woman, who was denied a termination, died from septicaemia in an Irish hospital. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton)

A United Nations human rights panel has told Ireland it should revise its highly restrictive abortion laws and that allegations of abuse of women and children at Catholic-run homes must be better investigated.

Following months of polarizing debate in the Roman Catholic country, Ireland’s parliament voted to allow limited access to abortion for the first time last year but restricted it to cases when a woman’s life is in danger.

The U.N. Human Rights Committee remained highly critical of the law, saying Ireland should revise it to provide for additional exceptions in cases of rape, incest, serious risks to the health of the mother, or fatal fetal abnormality.

“The Committee reiterates its previous concern regarding the highly restrictive circumstances under which women can lawfully have an abortion in the state,” it said following hearings last week when Committee Chairman Nigel Rodley said Irish law treated women who were raped as a “a vessel and nothing more”.