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Report urges changes in India's rape laws

Published By United Press International
NEW DELHI, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- An Indian report urging sweeping changes to the country's rape laws is a "tribute" to a woman who died after a gang rape, a U.N. official says.

Navi Pillay, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, said Indian officials should move quickly to implement the recommendations of the Verma Committee, named after Chief Justice Jagdish Sharan Verma, a U.N. release said.

The report said India should punish marital, domestic and same-sex rape and lesser sexual offenses like stalking, and require police officers to register all reported rapes. The panel also recommended more sensitive treatment for victims, including changes in the system for physical examinations, and said village committees that issue edicts against women should be abolished.

"This report and its far-reaching recommendations are not only a tribute to the brave young woman who was raped and murdered five weeks ago, but to all victims of sexual violence and assault in India," Pillay said. "It is also a testament to the power of the young women and men of India, and the broader civil society, who have joined hands across the nation to say enough is enough."

The gang rape of a 23-year-old medical student who was attacked in December in New Delhi as she returned from a movie with a male companion, sparked demonstrations and a reconsideration of Indian sexual attitudes. The woman died later after being transferred to a hospital in Singapore.
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