JERUSALEM – On hearing the sad news of the brutal rape and subsequent death of the young woman in India on December 16th, the Women’s Desk of the ELCJHL wrote a response to the United Evangelical Lutheran Churches in India. The full response is printed below:
Dear Rev. Dr. A. G. Augustine Jeyakumar,
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) received with sadness, condemnation and resentment the news of the brutal assault and rape of the young woman on the 16thof December in New Delhi, India, and is watching with concern the fallout of the events that followed this criminal and inhumane incident. The ELCJHL Bishop, pastors, women, and people of the congregations of the Lutheran Church and greater Christian community in Jordan and the Holy Land stand with the people of the world who are now learning of this growing situation and demand that the government of India take seriously the ramifications of this issue and are also concerned with the indifference everywhere prevailing when dealing with such acts, which is also experienced by many women around the world today and for which sometimes they have to pay with their very lives. We sympathize and support women in India and join our voices to wipe out this scourge. The (ELCJHL) as a whole and the ELCJHL Women’s Desk in particular are seriously concerned and severely condemn these acts of violence against women in India and all over the world.
We see that all forms of violence against women are a violation of human rights and it is the responsibility of the international community to enforce respect for human rights especially the human rights of women, bearing in mind that there is an obligation to exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate and punish perpetrators as well as provide protection for women and that not doing so violates and impairs or nullifies the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedom of women, recognizing the need for a stronger gender-sensitive approach in all efforts to fight all kinds of violence against women especially sexual violence. We urge governments all over the world to devise, enforce and strengthen effective gender-and age-sensitive measures to combat and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, as part of a comprehensive anti-violence strategy that integrates a human rights perspective and takes into account the situation of violated victims, and to draw up, as appropriate, national action plans in this regard.
And as a Women’s Desk we urge that silence around violence needs to be broken, and awareness among societies needs to be raised. With the support of the community, we can change what is happening in most of the countries. There must be serious, sustainable legal and law enforcement action. Justice must take its course to those who commit such crimes and punishments must be consistent with international human rights standards. Those who seek to arbitrarily harm another must face legal consequences.
We stand with the United Evangelical Lutheran Churches in India (UELCI) and its member churches and the women of all of India in the shadow of this challenging situation, calling upon the government of India to work for real change, to improve the safety of the women of its country. We call upon our global partners to lend their hands in this endeavor to change. The ELCJHL Women’s Desk offers its condolences to her family and to all who mourn her death. We pray for the victims and their families that they may again find peace and a means to heal.