Honorable Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj,
On behalf of Youth to End Sexual Violence, a member of the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict, I am writing to urge you to join other world leaders in their commitment to stop (i) rape in areas of conflict; and (ii) gender-based sexual violence in India.
The G8-backed Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict and subsequent Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict galvanized public and political support for concrete action to tackle this issue. I urge you to endorse the Declaration and join the global movement to provide support for sexual violence survivors and end the use of rape as a weapon of war.
In 2013, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in India reported that there were 309,546 crimes against women reported to the police compared to 244,270 in 2012. In 2014, those numbers have increased. These crimes include rape and other forms of sexual violence such as molestation, intimate partner sexual violence, and human trafficking. In the North East region of India, there has been no accountability for in several incidences of rape under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of 1958. This must end.
In India, youth comprise 66% of the total population. It is therefore imperative for the Government of India to commit to the development of strategies that engage with young men and women, and encourage them to participate peace-building activities and dialogues on sexual and gender based violence. This strategy should emphasize the need for policy interventions in the areas of (i) education, (ii) technology, and (iii) employment, to ensure that people of all socio-economic backgrounds can participate in the development of these solutions.
I urge you and other world leaders to:
Commit to having policies in place by the time of the 2015 UN Security Council High-Level Review of UNSCR 1325, to ensure women’s participation and independent civil society representation in 100% of peace processes and negotiations.
Commit sustained resources for the full range of medical, psychosocial, legal and livelihood services for survivors, and increase funding to local women’s organizations providing survivors with these services.
Commit to the development and enforcement of robust national laws to hold perpetrators accountable for sexual violence, with particular focus on training law enforcement officials in investigation and supporting prosecutors to pursue these cases in court.
Commit to the development and support of youth participation in community and civic affairs to help address the problem of routine sexual violence.
Along with over 5,000 Campaign members around the world, I look forward to following your work to support sexual violence survivors worldwide
Youth Ambassador for India on Sexual Violence in Conflict
Executive Director of Youth to End Sexual Violence