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International News

Feb 23, 2021
7:59PM

External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar says, human rights agenda continues to face severe challenges

Tweeted by @AIR
External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar has said that the human rights agenda continues to face severe challenges, most of all from terrorism. In his statement at the High Level Segment of the 46th Session of UN Human Rights Council, Dr Jaishankar said, the perennial concerns remain equally strong, be it global inequities or armed conflicts. He said, the ongoing pandemic has complicated the situation in many geographies. The Minister said, there is a need for us to come together to overcome these challenges and at the same time, multilateral institutions and mechanisms need to be reformed to be able to deal with these effectively.
 
Dr Jaishankar said, terrorism continues to be one of the gravest threats to humankind and it is a crime against humanity and violates the most fundamental human right, the Right to Life. He said, as a long-standing victim, India has been in the forefront of the global action against terrorism. The Minister said, this is possible only when there is a clear realisation, including in bodies dealing with human rights, that terrorism can never be justified, nor its perpetrators ever equated with its victims. He said, last month India presented at the UNSC an eight-point Action Plan to deal with the scourge of terrorism. The Minister said, India will continue to work together with members of the UNSC and other states to ensure implementation of our Action Plan.
 
Dr Jaishankar said, India has always played an active role in global promotion and protection of human rights. He said, India's strong commitment to the welfare of the entire humanity, inspired by its civilisational ethos of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam’ or the World is one family has provided the very foundation on which the constitutional and legal framework of human rights has been built. 

The Minister said, India's approach is based on its own experience as an inclusive and pluralistic society and a vibrant democracy. He said, our Constitution has enshrined basic human rights as Fundamental Rights, guaranteeing civil and political rights, stipulating provisions for progressive realisation of economic, social and cultural rights. The Minister said, these continue to evolve through legislation by Parliament, progressive interpretation of laws by the judiciary and active participation of civil society and citizens. 

Dr Jaishankar said, India's approach to the UN Human Rights Council is guided by our spirit of engagement, dialogue and consultation. He said, we believe that equal emphasis should be placed on both promotion and protection of human rights. He added that both are best pursued through dialogue, consultation and cooperation amongst States as well as technical assistance and capacity building. The Minister said, we also believe that achievement of sustainable development goals will contribute to realisation and enjoyment of basic human rights.
 
Dr Jaishankar said, as a member of the Human Rights Council, India remains committed to work together with fellow members of the Council to achieve consensus. He said, India believes that violation of and gaps in implementation of human rights should be addressed in a fair and just manner, with objectivity, non-selectivity, transparency and with due respect to the principles of non-interference in internal affairs and national sovereignty. 

He said, as the Human Rights Council completes 15 years since its establishment, it is time for us to assess its achievements, reflect on its failures and deliberate on the ways to strengthen and reform it so as to enable it to achieve the objectives for which it has been set up. The Minister said, India, as always, is ready to contribute in this endeavour.
 
Dr Jaishankar said, India’s abiding commitment to promotion and protection of basic human rights has been manifest in our strategy to deal with COVID-19 pandemic. He said, by giving direct food support to 800 million Indians and financial support to 400 million, many of them women, the government ensured that basic needs were very effectively addressed even during the lockdown. The Minister said, India addressed the health front at home and also responded to the world in equal measure. He said, India provided essential medicines and equipment to more than 150 countries to assist them in this fight. In the same spirit, India has pledged to use its vaccine manufacturing capacity to make vaccines accessible and affordable to all. From Bangladesh to Brazil and from Morocco to Fiji, the pharmacy of the world is today supplying millions of vaccine doses to more than 70 countries.
 
Dr Jaishankar said, guided by Government of India’s vision of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, India has undertaken unprecedented steps, aimed at economic and social transformation of India. He said, The revolutionary initiatives undertaken by the government include the world’s largest financial inclusion scheme which covers 417 million aspirational Indians, free health insurance coverage to 500 million, provision of 150 million homes to the underprivileged, loans at concessional rates to 140 million needy Indians for promoting entrepreneurship, out of which 76 per cent of the beneficiaries are women, 50 million free gas connections to deserving women belonging to rural households, construction of 110 million toilets in the last five years and bringing tap water connection to every household in the country by 2024. The Minister said, all these steps have contributed immensely in enjoyment of basic human rights by our people.
 
Dr Jaishankar reiterated that India remains steadfast in its commitment to take all the possible steps to ensure fullest enjoyment of basic human rights of its people, including inclusive and sustainable development. He said, India is building a better and fairer society at home and also contributing to a better and fairer world.

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