Women from disadvantaged social groups face additional vulnerabilities in India: UN

The United Nations in India has expressed concern at the continuing cases of sexual violence against women and girls from disadvantaged social groups in India in a statement issued in the wake of the rape and murder of Dalit woman by upper-caste Hindu men in Hathras in Uttar Pradesh.

Read the unedited text of the statement:

The UN in India is profoundly saddened and concerned at the continuing cases of sexual violence against women and girls in India. The recent cases of alleged rape and murder in Hathras and Balarampur are another reminder that despite the impressive progress made on a number of social indicators, women and girls from disadvantaged social groups face additional vulnerabilities and are at greater risk of gender-based violence. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the women and children who face such atrocities, as well as with their families.

The steps being taken by the Government of India to strengthen safety measures for women and girls are welcome and urgent. We support the Prime Minister’s call for strict action against the culprits. It is essential that authorities ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice speedily, and that families be empowered to seek timely justice, social support, counselling, healthcare and rehabilitation. Entrenched social norms and behaviour of men and boys that lead to gender based violence must be addressed.

The UN stands committed to providing continued support to the Government and civil society to address violence against women. As we fight the challenge of COVID-19 with the determination to build back better India, building respectful relationships devoid of prejudices and gender biases is a top priority.