UN chief urges India to act on rape crisis

Following the death of a woman brutally gang-raped, Ban Ki-Moon calls for government action

By Natasha Lennard

Published December 30, 2012 5:20PM (EST)

The body of a 23-year-old woman who died in hospital from injuries sustained in a brutal gang-rape was cremated Sunday. Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in India in the past week to protest Indian authority's treatment of rape and rape victims. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon today called upon the government to enact changes to protect women.

"Every girl and woman has the right to be respected, valued and protected," Ban said in a statement in which he expressed "deep sorrow" at news of the young woman's death and called for "further steps and reforms to deter such crimes and bring perpetrators to justice".

According to AP reports, India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, head of the ruling Congress party, were at the airport to receive the body and meet family members of the rape victim, who had been flown to a Singapore hospital following the attack two weeks ago.

The AP reported:

Hours after the victim died early Saturday, Indian police charged six men who had been arrested in connection with the attack with murder, adding to accusations that they beat and gang-raped the woman on a New Delhi bus on Dec. 16.

New Delhi police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said the six suspects face the death penalty if convicted, in a case that has triggered protests across India and raised questions about lax attitudes by police toward sexual crimes.

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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Ban Ki-moon Delhi India Rape Sexual Assault Un United Nations