Britain on Thursday said it was aware of “particular concerns” over violence against women and girls in India during a review of the global human rights situation in 2015.
It also listed 30 nations as “human rights priority countries” where it plans to “prioritise engagement”. India does not figure in the list that includes Myanmar, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The annual human rights report released by the Foreign Office said Britain is committed to working with the Indian government on violence against women and girls.
“We are aware of the particular concerns around violence against women and girls in India...We welcome the steps the Indian government has already taken, such as fast-track courts and public safety measures,” it said.
The report said a group of Indian women leaders visited Britain in November to learn about the approach to tackling violence against women and girls. The visit took place during the week that marked the International Day for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.
“The group met Baroness Anelay, parliamentarians, representatives of the private sector, UK civil society and UK officials. The objective was to help shape public policy in India so that the criminal justice system and society will be more responsive to women victims of violence, specifically those from vulnerable, marginalised and minority groups,” the report said.
On the global rights situation, the report said despite progress achieved at the UN level and elsewhere, significant challenges remained, including ending the many forms of violence against women, securing sexual health and reproductive rights, achieving gender equality at the workplace and in political and public life, and women’s economic empowerment and equal access to education.
“Regrettably, despite the fact that women make up around 50% of any country’s population, and despite demonstrable benefits for countries’ prosperity of women’s economic empowerment, too many countries – at national, provincial and community level – continue to restrict the human rights of women and girls, including to adequate health care and to justice,” it said.
The 30 priority countries were chosen using the human rights situation, a country’s human rights trajectory, and Britain’s ability to influence change.