The European Parliament has adopted a resolution on violence against women in India. The document contains several references to caste discrimination and the situation of Dalit women.
The European Parliament today expressed “deep concern about the widespread violence committed against Dalit women and girls in India, including sexual violence committed by men of dominant castes.”
Following an almost 45-minute long debate on the issue of violence against women in India, in which the Dalit issue was mentioned several times, Parliament adopted a resolution that included a number of references to caste discrimination and Dalit women.
The resolution text expresses concern about “the extraordinary high level of impunity” in cases of sexual violence against Dalit women and calls on the Indian Government to “treat all cases of sexual violation towards all women equally and to investigate and prosecute them in an equal, fair, transparent and speedy manner.”
The resolution also notes that “women and girls affected by caste-based discrimination are particularly vulnerable to various forms of sexual violence, forced and ritual prostitution, trafficking, domestic and punitive violence when they seek justice for crimes committed.”
According to the resolution, the “well-known Pipili Gang rape case of 29 November 2011 has again demonstrated where the authorities refused to register the case and only after a High Court intervened, the girl was given proper treatment, though she later succumbed to the sustained injuries.”
It is the second time in a month that the European Parliament has focused on the highly problematic human rights situation in India. In December, it adopted a strongly worded resolution on caste discrimination. The new resolution also referred to this document as well as the draft UN Principles and Guidelines to eliminate caste discrimination.
The issue of violence against women in India has been highlighted in the wake of the brutal gang-rape of a 23-year old female student in Delhi on 16 December, 2012. She later succumbed to her injuries.
The tragic incident caused mass protests in India as well as global media attention. It also, however, prompted several observers to note that the large number of rapes against Dalit women in Indiado not cause similar outrage.