Skip to main content

India's caste-based rapes echo at UN Rights Council: Authorities told to "act, end violence"

By Our Representative
Senior UN human rights officials at a United Nations Human Rights Council side-event at Geneva on June 17, 2014, have called for ”immediate efforts to end caste-based rape and violence against women” in India. The event, co-sponsored by Human Rights Watch, the top US-based rights group, ”followed urgent global calls for action from numerous human rights organizations, India’s UN representative, and policymakers from around the world in response to the gang-rape and hanging of two girls in India on May 27”, a statement issued by the International Dalit Salidarity Network, said.
At the side-event, speakers urged UN member countries to speak up about the escalating caste-based violence against women. Outgoing UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said, “I urge governments to fully implement all the recommendations made by international human rights mechanisms, as well as those arising from national processes. Our outrage is not enough. We must take real and focused action to mend our societies’ dramatic failure to support the rights of people of discriminated castes, particularly women and girls.”
The UN Women policy director, Saraswathi Menon, said “Words and legislation is not enough we need concrete action. Legislation alone does not address structural discrimination. The UN has an important role to play and must step up to the plate to help stop caste-based violence against women.” Dalit women leaders from South Asia, representing castes that traditionally have been marginalized, and other speakers urged concrete support for the victims of caste-based violence in their fight against injustice and the need to strengthen the UN’s role.
Asha Kowtal, who is leading a delegation of Dalit women to the Human Rights Council, said, “Caste-based rape and violence against Dalit women and girls is escalating as we fight to claim justice. The amount of cases is growing and the brutality of the crimes becoming increasingly severe. Systems of justice meant to protect Dalit women at the national level are completely failing us. We are asking for immediate loud and clear global support in our struggle.”
Manjula Pradeep, India's leading Dalit rights activist and director, Navsarjan Trust, Ahmedabad, insisted that caste-based violence and discrimination not only affects women in India but millions of other women across the world in Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Yemen and other caste-affected countries. Pradeep stated: “The discussion on how to end this inhuman system needs to take place on both a national and a global level with UN engagement.”
“Women suffering from caste-based violence in one of the world’s most brutal systems of oppression are asking for global solidarity in their struggle,” said Rikke Nöhrlind, director at the International Solidarity Network (IDSN). “The world that so strongly supported the fight against apartheid must now tackle caste discrimination with the same commitment.”
Juliette De Rivero, Geneva advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, cited institutional barriers to ensuring justice and support for survivors of sexual violence: “Dalit communities have long suffered serious abuses, but the state response has fallen short. The government should undertake systemic changes for proper enforcement of laws, and ensure that public officials, including the police, are held accountable when they fail in their duty.”
The June 17 event in the Palais des Nations in Geneva and was sponsored by, apart from Human Rights Watch, the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR), Minority Rights Group, Franciscan International, and the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development. It was organized in association with International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN), and was co-sponsored by Norway and Denmark.
During the discussion, apart from India, delegates from Seychelles, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Slovenia, Canada, European Union and Sierra Leone spoke. In all, there were 61 participants, plus speakers. Representatives from UN agencies OHCHR, UNAIDS and UNNGLS also participated in the discussion.

Comments

TRENDING

Whistle-blowing IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife suspects foul play after truck hits her car

By Nachiketa Desai*
Paranoia has seized Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, after the car she was driving was rammed in broad day light. According to Shweta Bhatt, it was beacon light-flashing truck without registration number plate. The incident took place on January 7, just a day ahead of the Gujarat High Court was scheduled to take up the bail application of Sanjiv Bhatt, arrested last year for "involvement" in a 23-year-old case.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

Morari Bapu, who has installed new statues of Ram, Laxman, Hanuman without weapons

By Sandeep Pandey*
A saint is one who can give some inner peace by his/her voice. This will happen only when s(he) will talk about love and harmony. Morari Bapu is one saint who has been conveying the message of love, peace, harmony, fraternity, etc. Today when a number of saffron clad figures with aggressive posture, spewing venom, fanning hatred to polarise voters are at the forefront of politics of Hindutva it is a relief to see Morari Bapu in a different mould.

99% MGNREGA funds "exhausted", Govt of India makes no additional sanctions: Study

Counterview Desk
A letter, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and prepared by senior activists led by Aruna Roy on behalf of the Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), and signed, among others, by 80 members of Parliament, has regretted that, despite repeated public statements by his government promising employment and job creation that will boost the country’s growth, the country’s only employment guarantee programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), “is being systematically undermined.”

Nuclear reactors sought from French giant "not safe": Letter to Modi on Jaitapur project

Counterview Desk
Amidst reports that the French nuclear giant EDF has submitted a “techno-commercial offer” for the world’s largest nuclear power park proposed in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur nuclear power park in Jaitapur on the Maharashtra coast, Dr EAS Sarma, India’s former Union Secretary in the Minister of Power, and an eminent voice in the civil society, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also heads Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),  protesting the move.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Kerala land being acquired using "draconian, anti-people" National Highway Act, 1956

Counterview Desk
In a letter Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan, senior activists and politicians have insisted that the Kerala government should not agree to "inhuman displacement and buid-operate-transfer (BOT) Toll system", imposed by the Government of India and the National Highway Authority of India, for widening the current National Highway (NH) 66.

Kaiga NPP expansion: Karnataka to get just 400 MW, but lose thick forest, fresh water

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to the chairman and members of the Atomic energy Commission (AEC) on the issue of Kaiga nuclear power plant (NPP) expansion plan in Karnataka, Shankar Sharma, well-known power policy analyst, has argued that that in case of expansion, the site will face “exponential increase in radiation emission risks”, underlining, “Nuclear safety experts identify such a scenario as enhanced risk for NPPs with multiple reactors and shared technical facilities."
Sharma says the questions that also be asked whether Karnataka should lose more than 54 hectares of thick forests and about 152,304 cubic meters of fresh water per day from Kali river for a meager benefit of 400 MW from the Kaiga NPP, for which “there are many benign alternative options available for the state at much lower overall costs to the state.”
Text of the letter: This has reference to the public hearing under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Rule 2006 of Ministry of Environment, Fore…

Uttarakhand High Court: Biodiversity boards can impose fees on Ramdev's Divya Pharmacy

By Mridhu Tandon
In a significant decision, the Uttarakhand High Court on December 21, 2018 has dismissed the writ petition filed by Divya Pharmacy founded by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, challenging the demand of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) imposing fees under the provisions of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS).

Modi becoming Prime Minister now appears to be an "accident" to the people of India

By Sandeep Pandey*
Anupam Kher's film 'Accidental Prime Minister' has targeted Dr Manmohan Singh who served for two terms and may be again acceptable for the job if his party regains power. But his tormentor Narendra Modi seems to be out of breath even before his first term is over. Disillusionment with him is so widespread and deep that people of India may not bear with him for another term. As the general elections approach again the difference between the two needs to be examined.