Pillay urges fundamental changes in wake of India rape tragedyListen /
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Monday expressed her deep sadness at the death of a 23-year old Indian woman who was brutally gang-raped on a bus on 16 December.
At the same time, she expressed her hope that this terrible case would mark a turning point against violence against women in India.
In a statement, Pillay said she joins "Indians in all walks of life in condemning this terrible crime". And she expressed the "hope that 2013 will be the year the tide is turned on violence against women in India and all women can walk free without fear".
The UN human rights chief said 'The public is demanding a transformation in systems that discriminate against women to a culture that respects the dignity of women in law and practice".
Noting the escalating protests and calls for the death penalty against those accused of the recent rape/murder, High Commissioner Pillay called for urgent and rational debate on comprehensive measures to address such crimes.
She cautioned that "However terrible the crime, the death penalty is not the answer".
Rather, she said "What is needed is a new public consciousness and more effective and sensitive enforcement of the law in the interests of women", adding that "India has shown through its social reform movements of the past that it can rid itself of a scourge like rape".
Donn Bobb, United Nations.