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Published in the 1-15 Mar 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Amnesty exhorts Union govt. to live up to promise

The Milli Gazette Online

London: Amnesty International in a report released here on January 27 urged the Manmohan Singh government to "live up" to its commitment to protect the human rights of the victims of violence in Gujarat in 2002 and punish the perpetrators of crime. The report said that even after three years of the riots the persons responsible for it continue to walk free. The report asked the Union government to fulfill the promises made by it in its common minimum programme and to secure human rights to all citizens and to address the legacy of the violence with speed and earnest commitment.

It called upon the government to give particular attention to the "forgotten women victims" of the violence. No body has been punished for violence and alleged sexual abuse and little had been done to prevent such incidents in future.

Letting the perpetrators of such crimes get away send the message to Muslims that state does not take their protection seriously and to Muslim women that the state is indifferent to their plight. Muslim women, nearly three years after the large-scale violence in Gujarat continue to fear for their lives, the report added.

The [BJP led] Union government failed to put in place legislation adequately defining all of the abuses particularly those of sexual violence and including those amounting to crime under international law. The government despite having constitutional powers and international obligations to do so, failed to intervene while massive violations of human rights were occurring.
The Gujarat government failed to protect Muslims especially women and girls during the violence and it refuses to accept its failures which is a further insult to the victims. 

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