Call for support :
Suja Jones, an Indian woman has taken her French husband to court on charges of rape of their daughter. She is fighting a lonely battle, while the French authorities provide support to the accused, an employee at the French consulate in Bangalore. The French media has given a very biaised coverage of this case, based on the allegations of the accused father.
We, the undersigned, express our deep concern at the role and attitude of French autorities in this case, which has in many respects violated the right for the child to be protected and defended. We demand that the French autorities cease their continued unilateral support for the accused party.
We call on women’s organisations to express solidarity with the 3 year old victim and to support her mother in the defence of the rights of her child, by signing on this solidarity campaign.
During the CSW - indeed an appropriate time for drawing attention to violence against women -, the initiators of this statement circulated widely an appeal (annexed) from an Indian woman, Suja Jones, whose 3 year old child has been raped and sodomized over months - and whose French husband, a former employee of the French consulate in Bangalore, India, is presently charged with the crime.
In a letter dated February 10, 2013, we drew the attention of the Minister of Women’s Rights in Paris, France, to the shameful attitude of French consular authorities in India who have persistantly supported their accused employee, abandoned the victims, and ran both a campaign of harassment and slander against the mother.
Senior French officials in India helped empty the joint account of the couple by cashing cheques emitted by the accused father from his jail, leaving Suja Jones and the three children without means of subsistence;
they still retain the passports of the French children of the couple upon request of the accused father, in blatant disregard for the Indian court’s decision to grant temporary custody to the mother while the case is pending in court; this also contravenes the obligation under French law for every French citizen to carry identity documents;
they stood by the father in court while ignoring the presence of the mother and her lawyers;
till now, they pretend that this is a marital dispute not a rape case, although no divorce case has been filed till date;
they did not respond positively to any of the requests by the mother for financial and legal help.
Taken to task by individuals and women’s organisations in France, the French Consular authorities now undertook to prove their concern for the very children they deprived of any means of subsistance and of legal identity, by harassing further their mother, sending her surprise visits by the Child Protection services, as if she were the accused in the case.
Meanwhile, the French media, ignoring early medical reports and other experts’ testimonies, have presented a totally one sided picture of the case, just highlighting the point of view of the accused. And men’s rights groups in India are at the forefront of supporting the accused father.
On February 23, 2013 an ad hoc support committee was formed, which called on the Special UN Rapporteur on Violence Against women, and on French women organisations to openly question the role of France in this case.
Demands for clarification on France’s representatives’ wrong doings were also sent to the Ministries of Home Affairs and of Foreign Affairs.
While the Ministry of Women’s Rights and the Ministry of Home Affairs simply ignored the letters and demands for clarification, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintained that this was a case of marital dispute, and justified the actions taken by its representatives in India.
On the Indian side, the local police put pressure on medical doctors to revise their earlier conclusions, and some evidence has gone missing from the file. DNA tests seem to have been exchanged for others which do not carry either the DNA of the father or that of the child.
The beginning of the trial is now due on March 22.
We call on women and women’s organisations to widely support our solidarity campaign for justice for Suja Jones and Child X.