The Human Rights Watch released a report yesterday regarding the Indian government’s failure to protect children against sexual abuse. Although India is a signatory of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and has laws protecting against such atrocities on the books, the organization asserted that the procedures are not properly enforced, leading to continued abuses.
An alarming amount of cases go unreported in India. A study endorsed by the government revealed that in a sample-size of 12,500 children, 53 percent claimed abuse and only 3 percent of those abused children reported the crimes. The director of the Human Rights Watch in South Asia stated that this is due to the fact that children who come forward with these atrocities are often ignored by the police and medical services.
Although the government has started to come forward in admitting the faults within their legal system, it is clear that a significant change must occur in order for the abuses to stop. Not only are unscientific tests being run to test the children for rape whose stories are actually listened to, but there is no compensation system in place to rehabilitate these children after such traumatic events.
The report additionally focuses on those children that are at severe risk of rape and incest. According to the organization, children that reside at care facilities and orphans are especially at risk. “Abuse occurs even in supposedly well-run and respected institutions because of poor monitoring.” Furthermore, some private institutions are not even registered. Many argue that the laws in place in India right now are completely ineffective at solving the problem and call for change.
Do you think the report released by the Human Rights Watch will encourage larger international bodies to pressure India to reform? What repercussions should India face as it is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child? What sanctions should India face for not enforcing these laws? What should the punishment be for government officials who attempt to cover up the abuses?