By failing to effectively prevent dowry deaths, India, as a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), violates the "right to life" as expressed in Article 6(1) and protected by Article 2. Part II of this Comment describes the phenomenon of dowry death generally and explains the origins of dowry and its relatively recent transformation into a means of extortion by the groom and his family. In addition, this Part examines the laws enacted by India in response to the growing incidence of dowry deaths. Finally, Part II explains why these positive laws fail to solve the problem of dowry deaths. Part III explains that the practice of dowry death not only violates India's existing domestic laws, but also violates international human rights law as embodied in the ICCPR. This Part briefly describes the ICCPR and examines India's obligations under the covenant with respect to the right to life. Part III takes the position that the practice of dowry death violates the ICCPR provisions protecting the right to life. Part IV concludes that India violates its Article 2 obligations with respect to the right to life and suggests some measures that India should pursue to meet its obligations under the ICCPR. This Part also addresses the obligations ofthe international community, particularly the other states party to the ICCPR, to exert pressure on India to fulfill its obligations to protect the right to life and prevent dowry deaths.
Angela K. Carlson-Whitley, Dowry Death: A Violation of the Right to Life Under Article Six of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 17 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 637 (1994).