UN calls for swift action on Manipur's gender-based violence
Citing it as a tragic milestone in rights abuse, UN experts urge India to investigate acts of violence and hold perpetrators to account
United Nations experts on Monday, 4 September, said they are "appalled" by reports and images of gender-based violence in Manipur targeting women and girls, and urged the Indian government to take robust and timely action to investigate acts of violence and hold perpetrators to account.
The UN experts raised the alarm about reports of serious human rights violations and abuses in Manipur, including alleged acts of sexual violence, extrajudicial killings, home destruction, forced displacement, torture and ill treatment.
India in the past has said that authorities at all levels, including the judiciary, are seized of the situation in Manipur and are taking steps to maintain peace and harmony and impose law and order.
'We are appalled by the reports and images of gender-based violence targeting hundreds of women and girls of all ages, and predominantly of the Kuki ethnic minority. The alleged violence includes gang rape, parading women naked in the street, severe beatings causing death, and burning them alive or dead,' the experts said in a statement.
'We are further alarmed by the reported misuse of counterterrorism measures to legitimise acts of violence and repression against ethnic and religious minorities,' they said.
The experts urged the Indian government to step up relief efforts to those affected and to take robust and timely action to investigate acts of violence and hold perpetrators to account, including public officials who may have aided and abetted the incitement of racial and religious hatred and violence.
They said recent events in Manipur were another tragic milestone in the steadily deteriorating situation for religious and ethnic minorities in India.
The experts welcomed the fact-finding mission conducted by lawyers and human rights defenders in Manipur and the follow-up by the Supreme Court of India on the situation in Manipur, 'though the response could have come in a timelier manner'. They urged the Supreme Court to continue monitoring the response of the government and other actors, with a focus on justice, accountability and reparations.
The experts include:
Reem Alsalem, UN special rapporteur on violence against women and girls, its causes and consequences
Michael Fakhri, special rapporteur on the right to food
Irene Khan, special rapporteur on the protection and promotion of freedom of opinion and expression
Fionnuala Ní Aolain, special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism
Balakrishnan Rajagopal, special rapporteur on the right to adequate housing
Nazila Ghanea, special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief
Morris Tidball-Binz, special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions
Mary Lawlor, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders
and Ashwini, special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.