UNHRC Lauds Verma Committee Report

Describing the Verma Committee report as a "groundbreaking basis" for action against violence against women in India, the UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay today asked the government to follow through on its vision and recommendations.

"I salute Justice Verma and his Committee on producing such a thorough report so quickly, and for involving women's groups and civil society so fully in the process," the High Commissioner said.

"This report and its far-reaching recommendations are not only a tribute to the brave young woman who was raped and murdered five weeks ago, but to all victims of sexual violence and assault in India," she said.

"It is also a testament to the power of the young women and men of India, and the broader civil society, who have joined hands across the nation to say 'Enough is Enough'".

Justice J S Verma committee, set up by Indian government to recommend measures to improve laws dealing with sexual offences, had received around 80,000 suggestions and had wrapped up its work within 29 days.

The Commitee sought comprehensive amendments to criminal laws seeking minimum 20 years imprisonment for gang rape and life term for rape and murder but refrained from prescribing death penalty.

"The report recommends a number of far-reaching changes including punishment for marital rape, domestic rape and rape in same-sex relationships," the Indian origin Pillay said.

"I strongly support the fact that the report eschews the death penalty and any lowering of the age of juvenile perpetrators," the High Commissioner said.

"And that, instead, it recommends suitably heavy prison sentences ranging from seven years to life".

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