By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: The United Nations has offered technical expertise
and support to India in strengthening critical services for rape
victims and reforms in rape laws.
This is the first time that the United Nations has responded to a rape
incident in India. The gang rape and subsequent death of a girl in
Delhi triggered international outrage forcing the United Nations to
call on the Indian government to take further steps and reforms to
deter such crimes and bring perpetrators to justice.
UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon on Sunday expressed “deep sorrow” at
the death of the 23-year-old girl, who was gang-raped by six men in a
moving bus in Delhi on December 16. A statement by an official
spokesperson said the secretary-general offered his sincerest
condolences to her parents, family and friends, and utterly condemned
this brutal crime.
“Violence against women must never be accepted, never excused, never
tolerated. Every girl and woman has the right to be respected, valued
and protected,” Ban Ki-moon said, welcoming the efforts of the Indian
government to take urgent action.
He called for further steps and reforms to deter such crimes and bring
perpetrators to justice. He also encouraged the Government of India to
strengthen critical services for rape victims. “UN Women and other
parts of the United Nations stand ready to support such reform efforts
with technical expertise and other support as required,” he said.
Anne F Stenhammer, regional programme director, UN Women South Asia,
also called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice. “This
attack is an attack against all women in India. Violence against women
is not a women’s issue but a human rights issue. UN Women joins the
Government and people of India in recognizing that we need to take
tougher action together to change the present reality and culture of
impunity,” she said.
The UN Women urged political to translate into concrete action and
stronger implementation of already existing laws and regulations.
A 2010 study by the Government of New Delhi, JAGORI and UN Women
showed that 54 per cent women and 69 per cent men who see women
getting harassed prefer to not get involved. “Public apathy needs to
be converted into public empathy. We need communities and individuals
to be a part of this change in mindsets, attitudes and beliefs,” she
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