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UK rights groups call on India to act against rape

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Reacting to the Justice Verma Committee recommendations, Amnesty International said, a series of recommendations by the panel to curb violence against women in India "will require strong political action and judicial will if they are to be turned into reality."

India-wide protests triggered in the aftermath of the Delhi gangrape, found an echo in Britain with international human rights bodies and women's groups here planning a major demonstration on Republic Day outside the Indian High Commission in London.

Some of these groups, including South Asia Solidarity, Southall Black Sisters and black and minority ethnic charity Imkaan, were also among those brought together by the London School of Economics (LSE) Gender Institute here yesterday to call on the Indian and British governments to implement robust and gender-just laws.

"This is not just our attempt to show solidarity with women's movement in India but also to stress that sexual violence is not something alien that is happening 'out there'. We must not allow violence against women in the UK to become invisible," Kalpana Wilson of the LSE Gender Institute said, addressing a packed audience of hundreds of students, academics and activists.

"The globalisation of this protest highlights it as a human rights abuse issue.

It is important that women's safety is seen as a democratic right, and that discourse has to be a global one," said Kavita Krishnan of the All-India Progressive Women's Association via a live link-up from Delhi.

Professor Naila Kabeer of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, spoke about the need to incorporate zero-tolerance of violence against women into the United Nations' post-Millennium Development Goals agenda.

The meeting also called on the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, to make a series of commitments, urging him to work with women's organisations in India to draft and implement procedures and practices to address all forms of gender violence.

"It is important to make links around the world when it comes to gender-based violence. We can't look at it from the lens of a specific 'cultural' problem, which happens only in certain societies," stressed Marai Larasi of Imkaan.

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First Published: Thu, January 24 2013. 20:35 IST