Working Group on Human Rights
in India and the UN
e-Newsletter on Human Rights
Issues In focus :  Violence Against Women  
Human Rights in India – Status Report 2012: Updated and RevisedWGHR Monitoring Tool for Recommendations from the United Nations' Universal Periodic Review for India
Human Rights in India – Status Report 2012: Updated and RevisedHuman Rights in India – Status Report 2012: Updated and Revised
WGHR Documents for
India’s Second UPR
Human Rights
in India
Status Report
Report for
India's 2nd UPR
UN documents for India's
2nd UPR
National report submitted
by the Government of India
Annexes to the National
Report – 1, 2, 3
Summary of 51
Stakeholders' Submissions
Compilation of UN
Report on 2nd UPR:
Recommendations made
to India (May 2012)
India's 2nd UPR:
accepted by the Govt. of
India (Sep 2012)



"Travesty of Justice" - Mohammad Ali, The Hindu, 3/1/2013

The Working Group on Human Rights in India and the UN (WGHR) released the updated and revised version of its report “Human Rights in India - Status Report 2012”, which was prepared for India’s Second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the UN Human Rights Council in May 2012 (for the full PDF version of the new report  click here). The Government of India accepted largely generic UPR recommendations while rejecting concrete recommendations with a targeted course of action. India also rejected recommendations asking to "ensure that laws are fully and consistently enforced to provide adequate protection for members of religious minorities, Scheduled Castes, and adivasi groups as well as women, trafficking victims and LGBT citizens". Read more 

WGHR Members' News and Activities 

Madhu Mehra, Director of Partners for Law in Development, contributed to various public debate through visual, print media on the gaps in legislation and implementation that create impunity for sexual violence. 

"FTN: Are governments failing to curb crimes against women?" - CNN-IBN Live, 18/12/2012. Watch here

"Stalking, stripping not sex crimes for Government MHA says these offences difficult to define, establish given a miss in new anti-rape Bill" - Aditi Tandon, The Tribune, 1/1/2013

The Home Ministry cited vague reasons to defend its decision to not treat stalking and stripping as separate categories of sex offences in the new anti rape Bill, and also rejected a critical recommendation from women’s organisations to establish the concept of command responsibility when crimes against women are committed by government officials. The Bill retains old IPC sections - 354 and 509 - which contain archaic notions of outraging the modesty of women. “These notions needed to be replaced with sexual crimes which rest firmly on the concept of violation of bodily integrity and dignity,” said PLD Director, Madhu Mehra. Vrinda Grover, women rights activist stated that "unless the Government recognises the graded nature of sexual crimes, nothing will change". Read more

Partners for Law in Development - Targeting Women as Witches: Consolidated Report

PLD's report focuses not only on the violence inflicted on women under the garb of witch hunting, but its long term causes, consequences and its legal and policy implications in the form of recommendations. This consolidated report prepared by PLD, pursuant to a series of consultations which were supported by the National Commission for Women, is the only comprehensive report on witch hunting of its kind. Read more

Maja Daruwala, Director of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) - "Police must be a Public Service, not a Political Force" - Asian Age, 6/1/2013

"In totalitarian states, police serves the regime and suppresses the population. In a democracy, the purpose of policing is fundamentally different. Before you can reform our police, you need a vision of what the purpose of police is. In a democracy, its purpose is to be able to ensure the safety and security of life and property, prevent and detect crime and, most of all, create an environment in which people could enjoy their Constitutional rights. The work of the police, therefore, is to protect and enable. They must be a service, not a force...". Read more 

Petition by Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative to Home Minister, Mr. Sushil Kumar Shinde - FIX POLICING NOW!

The horrific gang rape and death of the 23 year old in Delhi has brought forth demands for speedy justice and a safer society for women. However, these are short term responses to this immediate atrocity. For long lasting, enduring solutions, we must look at the bigger policy problem that requires immediate and urgent attention: poor policing. Click here to sign the petition

"Women suffer big in India's state vs rebels war" - The Times of India, 29/12/12

Even as the Delhi bus gang-rape case simmers, women in India's insurgency-hit areas, Kashmir, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand or the North East, continue to be exploited sexually both by separatists and the security forces. Cases of sexual crimes usually go unreported either due to remoteness of the location, or victims choosing to stay silent out of fear and social stigma. Babloo Loitongbam, director of Imphal-based Human Rights' Alert, says, "In a conflict zone, targeting women's honour becomes a contest between the warring parties. And the reported cases of rape by army or the para-military forces in Manipur are just the tip of the iceberg. We have documented over 20 rape cases in the last few years but most go unreported." Read more

"Impunity Punctured: The Naroda Patiya Verdict" - Teesta Setalvad (Secretary, Citizens for Justice and Peace), Economic & Political Weekly, 22/12/2012

"Gender-driven brutalities and violence rarely sustain judicial scrutiny and the narrative of gender violence usually disappears with the onset of trial. In another first, the Naroda Patiya trial, monitored by the Supreme Court, saw quality legal aid being provided to witnesses. A conducive (not hostile) court atmosphere ensured that the narrative of gender violence returned during prosecution". Read more

WGHR Members' Submissions to the Justice Verma Committee:

Submission by the Working Group on Human Rights in India and the UN (WGHR)
Submission by Partners for Law in Development (PLD)
Joint Submission by Commowealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
Submission by Vrinda Grover, SC Lawyer

UN Human Rights News 

“Fundamental changes needed in wake of India rape tragedy: Pillay'” – Geneva, 31/12/2012

The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay, expressed her sadness at the death of the 23-year old student who was brutally gang raped in New Delhi. The High Commissioner noted that the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women had recommended in 2007 that India "widen the definition of rape in its Penal Code to reflect the realities of sexual abuse experienced by women and to remove the exception for marital rape from the definition of rape". The Committee also recommended the Indian Government to "consult widely with women's groups in its process of reform of laws and procedures relating to rape and sexual abuse".  Read more

UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women forthcoming visit in India: 22 April - 1 May 2013

The visit Special Rapporteur (SR) on Violence against Women in India has been confirmed to take place from 22 April till 1 May this year ( see forthcoming SR visits here). According to her mandate, Ms. Rashida Manjoo is requested to:

(a) Seek and receive information on violence against women, its causes and consequences from Governments, treaty bodies, specialized agencies, other special rapporteurs responsible for various human rights questions and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, including women's organizations, and to respond effectively to such information; 

(b) Recommend measures, ways and means at the local, national, regional and international levels to eliminate all forms of violence against women and its causes, and to remedy its consequences; 

(c) Work closely with all special procedures and other human rights mechanisms of the Human Rights Council and with the treaty bodies, taking into account the request of the Council that they regularly and systematically integrate the human rights of women and a gender perspective into their work, and cooperate closely with the Commission on the Status of Women in the discharge of its functions; 

(d) Continue to adopt a comprehensive and universal approach to the elimination of violence against women, its causes and consequences, including causes of violence against women relating to the civil, cultural, economic, political and social spheres.

For more information on the SR's mandate see here.

News on Violence Against Women

“Chemical castration only causes reversible dip in male sex hormones: Experts" - Aditi Tandon, The Tribune, 1/1/2013

Constitutionally, castration cannot be allowed as it involves the element of force and invasion of a person's right to exercise choice. On the medical front, the result of chemical castration lasts for less than a month and it cannot be a permanent solution because it entails side effects. Chemical castration requires regular follow up to ensure the desired result has been achieved. "In a country like India where you don't have doctors for simply healthcare delivery, it would be a distant dream to think that specialists would actually be available for follow ups. The suggestion is no deterrent to rape and entails a huge economic investment". Read more

“Cry for freedom" - Aditi Tandon, The Tribune, 30/12/2012     

The increase in crimes against women and children in India hasn’t built up overnight. It has grown gradually, fuelled by a lethal combination of factors - negative stereotypes against women in society, lack of gender sensitivity in police training, complete disregard for minor crimes like molestation which sometimes become fatal, absence of victim and witness protection schemes, legislative gaps and an acutely deficient criminal justice system. Read more

"[Investigation] The rapes will go on" - Tehelka, first published 14/4/2012

In the often called 'rape capital of India', the Delhi-NCR region, numerous instances of police apathy in rape cases were witnessed. When asked to explain the rising cases of rape, the police personnel have invariably blamed the women, an array of extraneous factors, or resorted to specious arguments instead of looking inwards and focusing on police reforms. Lawyers and women rights activists have been flagging the deep prejudice prevalent in the police against women in general and rape victims in particular, as the single biggest reason for the repeated failure of justice.  Read more

“Courts must ensure speedy trial in rape cases: Supreme Court” – The Hindu, 27/12/2012

The Supreme Court judgement was made 10 days before the brutal gang-rape of the medical student in Delhi, which has triggered nation-wide protests and calls for fast track courts to adjudicate rape cases. Read more

“Let’s ask how we contribute to rape" - Urvashi Butalia, The Hindu, 25/12/2012

"It is important we raise our collective voice for women, but let’s raise it for all women, let’s raise it so that no woman, no matter that she be poor, rich, urban, rural, Dalit, Muslim, Hindu, or whatever, ever, in the future, has to face sexual violence, and no man assumes that because of the system and people’s mindsets, he can simply get away with it". Read more

"Rapists not mentally ill, but criminals who feel they can get away, experts feel" - The Times of India, 20/12/2012

Padma Deosthali of Centre for Enquiry into Health and Allied Themes, an NGO that works with rape victims, said, "It is important to make a point that rape is an act of violence, intentional and the intention is to humiliate, hurt, put down or get back or teach a lesson to a girl/woman.'' Do rapists have psychological or personality disorders? Far from it, she said, adding, "They know they can get away with it". Read more




The Working Group on Human Rights in India and the UN (WGHR) is a national coalition of fourteen human rights organizations and independent experts from India. WGHR works towards the realization of all civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights in India and aims at holding the Indian government accountable for its national and international human rights obligations. For more information, visit:

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