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UN Women head Michelle Bachelet on Friday urged punishment for those responsible for the brutal gang-rape and murder of a young woman in New Delhi, saying a strong message must be sent.
Bachelet, the former Chilean president, also told journalists during a visit to Nigeria that sufficient laws existed to prosecute rapists in many parts of the world, but more must be done to implement them.
“Those people need to be punished, need to be punished because that's a woman's life,” she said after being asked about the New Delhi rape case, which has led to outrage in India and many parts of the world.
“... The loss of life is unacceptable. They need to be punished for that, but also to send a strong message to everyone that violence against women will not be accepted.”
The UN under-secretary general, on a regional tour to promote women's rights, said “one of the problems we have seen worldwide is that there are good laws in place but they are not implemented.”
Police or judges often do not take the allegations of abuse against women seriously enough, she said.
“Or many times the husband or the people who did the violence, the perpetrators, they convince the women to withdraw the claims ...,” she said.
Police in India say a group of six suspects lured a 23-year-old woman and her boyfriend onto a private bus in Delhi on December 16 when they were trying to return home from the cinema.
They then took it in turns to rape the woman and violate her with an iron bar, causing fatal internal injuries, and well as beating her male companion.
Five of the men are currently standing trial in New Delhi for the attack. A sixth will be tried in a juvenile court.
The victim died in a Singapore hospital 13 days after the attack, which triggered mass protests across India.. - Sapa-AFP