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UNICEF condemns rape of 5-year-old in New Delhi, urges stronger measures to improve safety for girls

2013-04-22

NEW DELHI, 20 April 2013 – The rape in Delhi where a 5-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.

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 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 another tragic rape in December, the Government has taken some encouraging steps including commissioning the Verma Report that 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 promising for the children of India. Yet, the law is not enough if it is not enforced effectively. The brutal rape case this week also indicates the need to strongly improve the response of law enforcement officers.

Episodes of violence against women and girls continue to permeate daily life in India. Widespread acceptance of these violations is worrisome. More needs to be done 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 the Delhi Daredevils cricket team and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Priyanka Chopra, UNICEF has 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.

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About UNICEF

UNICEF has saved more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries – more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive.

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.