India sweeps sexual violence under the rug

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India’s government has turned a blind eye to cruel and gruesome acts of sexual violence against women, and many are saying that the government is responsible for enabling these detestable abuse offenses. 

The gang rape and death of a 23-year-old woman in New Delhi on December 16 last year evoked protest and uprise. In response to this President Pranab Mukherjee signed the Criminal Law Ordinance 2013, which reformed India’s outdated laws on sexual violence. However, the Ordinance completely ignored the critical protection of human rights and failed to make good with victims. 

The Indian Government disregarded advise from the former Supreme Court chief justice, J.S. Verma, to mandate more serious laws to combat sexual violence. The newly signed ordinance dismissed suggestions from the Verma committee in regards to police accountability and “…framing sexual violence as a violation of women’s rights to bodily integrity” the Human Rights Watch (HRC) reported. 

 The sexual violence ordinance does not take proper measures to protect women nor does it articulate the seriousness of the problem. The ordinance uses words such as “insults” and “outrages” to convey sexual abuse and rape. 

“Instead of passing a deeply flawed ordinance, the Indian cabinet should table a well-drafted comprehensive bill addressing gender-based violence, especially sexual violence, in its forthcoming budget session,” Ananthapadmanabhan of the HRC said. “The parliament should engage in meaningful consultations with civil society groups, and ensure that any new law complies with international standards.”

Presdident Mukherjee’s signing of the ordinance is one step forward and several steps backward for the Indian government and has negative repercussions for the people of India. Protesters take a stance that  gender-based violence should not be taken lightly and human rights must be upheld and preserved throughout all countries. 

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