This submission outlines the challenges in the criminal justice system, gaps in legislative protection, and barriers to accessing justice for survivors of sexual violence, particularly from Dalit, Adivasi, and Muslim communities which are marginalized based on caste, tribe, and religion respectively. Developing effective criminal law mechanisms for the elimination of sexual violence is a fundamental step in achieving substantive and transformative equality for women and girls in India.
During the previous UPR cycle, India received eleven recommendations to criminalize marital rape; nine recommendations relating to steps to implement and strengthen laws and policies aimed at eliminating sexual violence; as well as recommendations to investigate and sanction perpetrators of violence against Dalits; and to “ensure effective implementation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Act, notably through the training of State officials”.
This submission analyses the extent to which these recommendations have been implemented by the Indian government, and provides further recommendations for improving access to justice for sexual violence through improving legislation and criminal justice procedures, including specific recommendations with an intersectional approach which is required to improve access to justice for Dalit, Adivasi and Muslim women and girls.
Submitted by: Equality Now, National Council of Women Leaders, Dalit Human Rights Defenders Network, Adivasi Women’s Network, Swabhiman Society, Bihar Legal Network, the Eastern Action Socio-Economic Development Trust (the EAST), Dalit Women Collective, Manavi Hakk, Punkh Freedom to Fly, Parvatiya Mahila Adhikar Manch