UN Women condemns gang rape of Delhi student


Statement by Anne F Stenhammer, Regional Programme Director, UN Women South Asia

New Delhi, 20 December — UN Women expresses indignation and condemns the ghastly gang-rape of the 23-year-old Delhi student, who is critically injured and battling for her life in a New Delhi hospital.

We hope for the full and speedy recovery of the student and her friend, and call for the perpetrators to be brought to justice. We also hope and believe that the two of them will receive priority response and protection from the Delhi authorities.

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.

UN Women in India stresses the urgent need to promote and protect the safety of women and girls in India. Every girl and woman should be able to live safely and free of violence.

These crimes need to end - sexual harassment and violence cannot be tolerated. We urge that political will must 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.

We call on the Government of Delhi and India to do everything in their power to take up radical reforms, ensure justice and reach out with robust public services to make women's lives more safe and secure.