Impunity and Immunity in Cases of Violence Against Women Continue to be the Norm, says Indira Jaising, India’s Additional Solicitor GeneralNov 25, 2013
“Provisions for penalizing complainants must be removed as they tend to discourage reporting rather than support the victim,” said Jaising at the inaugural United Nations Public Lecture
New Delhi, 25 November 2013 - Delivering the inaugural United Nations Public Lecture, Ms. Indira Jaising, Additional Solicitor-General of the Supreme Court of India, urged authorities to help survivors of sexual assault to navigate the criminal justice system.
Speaking in the presence of policy makers, representatives from the diplomatic community, civil society, students and media, Ms Jaising, the first woman to be appointed Additional Solicitor-General said, “The rates of judicial attrition continue to be high. The criminal justice system is not victim friendly and focuses on the rights of the accused alone. Much more can be done to guarantee the conviction of the accused in cases of sexual abuse. We need to ensure that the victim and her family are taken into confidence at every state of the decision-making process and in the sharing of information relating to the prosecution. We need to inspire confidence in the victim to continue with the proceedings.”
Speaking on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the public lecture by Ms. Jaising focused on progress to end violence against women. It comes almost a year after the brutal gang rape of a young woman in New Delhi. “While substantive changes were made in the Sexual Assault Law in March 2013, no corresponding changes were made to procedural laws, nor were any systems or institutions put in place to assist survivors of sexual assault.” said Ms. Jaising.
Ms. Jaising also urged for greater clarity in the filing of cases of sexual harassment at the workplace in the context of The Sexual Harassment of Women at the Workplace (Prevention Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013. “Provisions for penalizing complainants must be removed as they tend to discourage reporting rather than support the victim. Similarly, the provision for conciliation of a complaint of sexual harassment must be done away with if we want to achieve zero tolerance of sexual harassment at the workplace,” she said.
Lise Grande, United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative said, “Helping to end violence against women is a high priority for the United Nations in India.”
“The December attack was the tipping point that has brought attention to violence against women - not only in India but globally. Many progressive reforms and changes have resulted – for example the historic Justice Verma Committee, which informed the subsequent approval by Parliament of the Criminal Amendment Act 2013. But laws by themselves are not the solution - their implementation also matters, as does changing mindsets,” said Dr Rebecca Reichmann Tavares, Representative, UN Women’s Office for India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka.
The UN Public Lecture commences as part of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign. The UN system is partnering with governments, civil society, young people, the media and the private sector to raise public awareness, and increase political will and resources to end violence against women and girls.
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Notes to the Editors
About the UNiTE campaign: This event held on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is in support of the UN Secretary-General’s global UNiTe campaign. Launched in 2008, the United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign aims to raise public awareness and increase political will and resources for preventing and ending all forms of violence against women and girls in all parts of the world. Each year, the UN Secretary General calls for “16 days of activism” from 25 November to 10 December (Human Rights Day) against gender violence, where people from all walks of life around the world are encouraged to raise awareness of gender-based violence as a human rights issue.
About the United Nations in India: The United Nations in India includes 27 organisations that have the privilege to serve in India. The UN in India is committed to support the Government of India’s national development priorities and the achievement of internationally agreed goals including the Millennium Development Goals. Visit: in.one.un.org.
About the UN Women: UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. Visit www.unwomenindia.org