Indian rape laws must be of global standards: Amnesty

New Delhi, Jan 11 (IANS) Amnesty International wants Indian rape laws to meet the highest international standards. And it does not favour death penalty or chemical castration.

Amnesty International India has said this as part of its recommendations to the Justice Verma committee set up by the government in the wake of the Dec 16 gang-rape of a young woman who died 13 days later.

Amnesty said that laws relating to violence against women must criminalize all forms of sexual and gender-based violence and minimize the potential for re-traumatization of the victim.

It said that penalties for rape and other sexual offences must reflect the gravity of the crime but punishments that violate human rights - like the death penalty and chemical castration - should not be used.

In its recommendations, Amnesty listed several legal reforms to combat impunity for sexual violence against women and stressed that sexual crimes against men, boys and trans-gender people should also be addressed.

It urged the government to broaden the scope of the crime of rape to include any non-consensual sexual conduct involving penetration, including within marriage.

Amnesty wants sexual violence to be identified as a crime against the physical and mental integrity of the victim and not against modesty, morality or honour.

It said that the government should explicitly recognize rape by an official as torture, and removing immunity from prosecution for sexual and gender-based crimes, including for members of police or armed forces.

The collection of forensic evidence and provision of medical care should be appropriate and adequate, it said.

It wants the use of the 'two-finger test' during medical exams to be done away with.

Amnesty said that legal reform would not be effective unless laws were properly implemented.

Amnesty also seeks that trials should be completed in a swift, sensitive and efficient manner to ensure that victims do not suffer from unnecessary trauma and harassment.

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