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Why India’s Database of Sex Offenders May Do More Harm Than Good

In response to “stranger danger” fears, India has become the ninth country to adopt a sex offenders’ database, with personal details of those convicted for rape and sexual assault. The year-old database contains 500,000 names and will…
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28 years after Kunan and Poshpora, abuses still persist

February 23 sticks in my mind the way a birthday does for most people. After my first 10 years of Bharatanatyam training, I performed my arangetram — a classical dancer’s debut full-length solo recital — on that day in 2013. In telling…
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  India is witnessing the latest advance in women’s fight for workplace equality and dignity. Women in India have furiously taken to social media using the #MeToo hashtag to publicize accounts of workplace sexual harassment. Some of…
People hold a candlelight vigil in Bengaluru, India, to protest the rape of an 8-year-old girl in Kathua and a teenager in Unnao, April 13, 2018.
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Could Delhi’s Witness Protection Scheme Be a Template for a Nationwide Law?

A 22-year-old Dalit woman from Lalitpur district in Uttar Pradesh, reported being raped in January 2016. The police were reluctant to act because the man accused was a local leader of a political party with powerful caste affiliations.…
A close-up photo showing the hands of a sexual violence victim in India.
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Created in the aftermath of the 2012 Delhi gangrape, the Nirbhaya Fund remains underused and the centres lack resources.

“Rape victims don’t really come here,” a woman counsellor from the non-governmental organisation tasked with running the one stop centre in Jaipur said. “They go to the hospital that is connected to the police station where they registered a…
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Only nine states have adopted the 2014 guidelines on medico-legal care for survivors of sexual violence.

"The doctor said to my daughter ‘If they had forced themselves on you, there should have been marks on your body – but you don’t have any. You must have done this of your own free will.’” Palak’s mother said that her daughter, already…
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Despite reforms after 2012 Delhi gang rape, India’s police continue to let down survivors of sexual violence.

“The police beat me up, detained my father, and threatened to lock him up under false charges if I didn’t tell the magistrate that I had filed a false complaint of rape, so I did as they said,” Kajal said of her ordeal after she reported…
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Rape-marriage exoneration laws are relics of the colonial past. It's time to leave them there.

In recent weeks, the Tunisian, Jordanian, and Lebanese parliaments have repealed provisions in their penal codes that allowed rapists to escape punishment by marrying their victims. Provisions like these, largely colonial-era relics, remain on the books…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
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Effective Strategy Needed to Prevent and Respond to Sexual Violence

On Friday, May 5, 2017, the Indian Supreme Court upheld the death sentences of four men convicted of rape in the brutal 2012 gang-rape of a 23-year-old student in Delhi that garnered outrage both in India and abroad. Women’s rights…
Demonstrators hold candles during a candlelight vigil for Jyoti Singh, who was gang raped on December 16, 2012 and subsequently died. © 2012 Reuters
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For all his promises — and a Nobel Peace Prize — the Obama presidency delivered more hope than change

As Donald Trump prepares to take office, many fear a new hostility to human rights on the part of the United States. From his divisive rhetoric about minorities to his embrace of autocrats abroad, there is plenty to worry about.  Trump…
U.S. President Barack Obama waves at the conclusion of his final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington January 12, 2016.
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“Unimaginable Horrors”

The “unimaginable horrors” that the Islamic State (ISIS) is committing against the minority Yezidis, documented in a report released on June 16 by the UN-mandated Independent International Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the Syrian Arab Republic, shows the…
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When I met them in early June, Abu Nizar, his wife and their three daughters — aged 22, 18 and 14 — were perched on threadbare mattresses in a rundown house in Ramtha, Jordan, where they survive on charity from the local community. Blankets covered the…
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A group of street children recently told the Verma Committee, which was set up to recommend reforms to India’s sexual assault laws, that they had witnessed police in Delhi gang-rape a girl in a police van. The committee decided not to refer the case to…
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MUMBAI—“You there! You are so dirty! Don’t sit on that chair!” These were words that a woman in India—bloodied and soiled after she had been raped—heard when she sought help from a doctor. A social worker described this scene to me in 2010,…
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In a few weeks, the European Union and India will hold a human rights dialogue. The death of a 23-year-old student who was gang-raped and beaten last month in New Delhi should catapult sexual violence to the top of the agenda. The New Delhi gang-rape has…
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The outrage following the gang-rape of a young woman in Delhi has led to demands that capital punishment be introduced to deter rape. India should take a principled stand against death penalty, including for rape. But beyond principle, India must also…
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The candidates may disagree on some human rights issues, but the next president will face challenges that transcend partisan lines. How might tomorrow's presidential election affect U.S. policy on human rights? The common wisdom is that unlike their sharp…
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In May, the ministry of information and broadcasting banned some television commercials for men's deodorants claiming it wanted to curb ads "aimed at tickling the libidinous male instincts" and portraying women "as lustily hankering after men under the…