UN says sexual violence widespread in India

UN says sexual violence widespread in India

UN says sexual violence widespread in India

A United Nations Special Rapporteur on Wednesday alleged that amendments to the Violence Against Women Act “do not fully reflect” recommendations of the justice Verma committee and the opportunity provided by the Delhi gang-rape incident was lost.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women on Wednesday also said sexual atrocities in India is pervasive and is being perpetuated in the public space, family and at work place.

Addressing the media at the end of her 11-day long tour of the country which included Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Manipur, UN Special Rapporteur Rashida Manjoo painted a grim picture in terms of women's safety.

She criticised the policy measures for taking a “welfare” approach rather than a “rights” one.

Manjoo singled out “the law and order approach” and the provision of death penalty for some crimes against women, suggesting that women empowerment, prevention of crimes and more accountability would be more effective.

Condemning the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, she said: “The interpretation and implementation of the act is eroding fundamental rights and freedoms including freedom of movement, association, peaceful assembly, safety and security, dignity and bodily integrity rights, for women in Jammu and Kashmir and in the North-Eastern States. “In India, women from the dalit, Adivasi, other Scheduled castes, tribal and indigenous minorities, are often victims of a multiplicity of forms of discrimination and violence,” she said.

“Also, such violence is sometimes labelled as ‘riots’, thereby denying the lack of security for religious and other minorities, disregarding their right to equal citizenship. The wounds of the past are still fresh for women who are beaten, stripped naked, burnt, raped and killed because of their religious identity, in the Gujarat massacre of 2002,” said Manjoo.

She also observed that economic polices of the country is adversely affecting Indian women resulting in forced eviction, landlessness, threats to livelihood, environmental degradation and the violation of bodily integrity rights.

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