NEW DELHI, India, 20 April 2013 - UNICEF India strongly condemns rape of 5 year old girl in Delhi and calls for stronger and immediate action to improve safety for girls in the country.
The rape that took place in the past days in Delhi where a five year old girl is now fighting for her life, is yet another sign that urgent and concerted action is needed to make sure that girls and women in India can feel and be safe on the streets, in school, at work and at home.
While the child is fighting for her life, UNICEF expresses its heartfelt sympathy with the family of the young girl and shares hopes for her full recovery.
Recently published data show that more than 30,000 crimes were committed against children in India in 2011. The same source of data shows us that one in three of the rape victims is a child. More than 7,200 children, including infants are reported raped every year. UNICEF acknowledges that there might be many more cases that go unreported, and thus also go without the needed care and support.
Following the tragic rape case in December, the Government has taken some encouraging steps, among them the commissioning of the Verma Report which translated into the passing of the Criminal Law Ordinance. Prior to that, at the end of 2012 the Government had also passed the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, which provides a framework for stringent action on such cases.
This is a promising reality for the children of India. Yet, the law is not enough if it is not enforced effectively. The brutal rape case this week unfortunately also indicates the need to strongly improve the response of law enforcement officers.
Episodes of violence against women and girls continue to permeate daily lives in India. Wide-spread acceptance of these violations is worrisome. More is needed to ensure to urgently change the mind-set towards the girl child and women and put a stop to these brutal crimes. In many parts of society in India, girls are often seen as liabilities and have little to say about their lives. Girls and women need to be valued, respected and feel safe, not only within the confines of their homes but also in public spaces.
UNICEF joins its many partners in India to call for change and action, immediately.
In partnership with Delhi Daredevils and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Priyanka Chopra, UNICEF launched the initiative “Dare to Care” and we invite people to join us on www.d2c.in to raise your voice, share your ideas and speak out for the empowerment of girls in India.