Uttar Pradesh may be No. 1 in human rights violations, but what comes as a ‘pleasant surprise’ to policy-makers here is the fact that the state also tops the charts in speedy disposal of such complaints.
“In 2012, we received one lakh complaints — of which roughly 55,000 were from UP. I must say that the decisions of the NHRC in majority of the cases from UP have been accepted by the state and compensation paid to the victims, which gives them the first position in disposal of cases too,” said Anil Kumar Parashar, joint registrar (law), NHRC.
As per the data accessed from the NHRC, the number of cases pending in 2012 was only around 13,000, which included cases from all over the country.
“When a state puts a question on our decision, it delays justice. But this has never happened in UP,” said Parashar, who was in the city on Tuesday to release a report on child sexual abuse- ‘Breaking The Silence: Child Sexual Abuse In India’ -by Human Rights Watch and People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR).
The 82-page report examines how government responses are falling short, both in protecting children from sexual abuse and treating victims. Many children are mistreated a second time by traumatic medical examinations and by police and other authorities who do not want to hear or believe their accounts.
“It is time things like human rights be included in school curriculum. This is because 95% cases still remain unidentified because quite a few incidents happen within families,” said Dr Lenin Raghuvanshi of the PVCHR.
Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director, Human Rights Watch, said a lot is being said about sexual exploitation of women but little about sexual exploitation of children. Even police officials are not sensitised on how to deal with victim children who often fear to speak up against exploitation.
“You might have selected the best school and the best mode of transport for your child, but if something happens to the kid then parents get to know about it through friends and not the child directly,” she said. The Indian government should improve protection of children from sexual abuse as part of broader reforms following the gangrape case in Delhi, said Meenakshi.
“India’s system to combat child sexual abuse is inadequate because government mechanisms fail to ensure protection of children,” said Meenakshi, adding: “Children who bravely complain about sexual abuse are often dismissed or ignored by the police, medical staff, and other authorities.”
Human Rights Watch conducted interviews of more than 100 victims of child sexual abuse and their relatives, government child protection officials and independent experts, police officers, doctors, social workers, and lawyers who have handled such cases.
The report uses detailed case studies, rather than a quantitative analysis, to examine government mechanisms to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse.