Speaking at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva today (24 September 2013) IHEU Main Representative Roy Brown criticised India over its failure to properly investigate hundreds of reported gang rapes and other atrocities against Dalit women and girls.
The criticism comes at a time when other gang rape cases have been widely publicised, investigated and sent to trial. IHEU emphasised the apparent disparity in the way the authorities treat similar horrific crimes committed against Dalits.
The full text of Roy’s speech follows below.
Merely talking about the issue has done little to improve the human rights of hundreds of millions of the world’s women.
There was widespread attention in the international media recently to the gang rape and murder of a young woman on a bus in New Delhi, but almost no attention in the media to a spate of gang rapes in Haryana over the past few months. The difference is that the Haryana rape victims were Dalits.
Merely passing legislation but with little if any effort devoted to proper implementation, or to training for those responsible for law enforcement, has achieved little in protecting Dalit women and girls from discrimination and violence in India.
I have here a report [https://humanists.international/new-report-lists-recent-atrocities-against-dalit-women-and-girls] listing 101 cases of atrocities committed against Dalit women and girls across India in the past nine months. Yet these cases represent the tiniest tip of a massive iceberg. Few of these cases are ever reported in the media or properly investigated by the police because of the endemic failure of the police to properly investigate and because of fear of reprisals against the families of the victims.
A fact-finding mission into a suspected rape and murder of a young Dalit woman four weeks ago in Haryana [http://www.humanrights.asia/news/forwarded-news/AHRC-FST-039-2013] has found that the police are refusing to properly investigate the case and falsely claiming that the medical evidence points to suicide. They have intimidated the family of the victim and have assaulted demonstrators protesting against police inaction.
And again and again we see comments in the press from leading figures in Indian society ready to blame the victim for every case of rape.
We call upon the government of India to do far more to ensure that their fine words and legislation are turned into concrete action through training in human rights for all levels of Indian society.
Thank you sir.