Can India Protect Human Rights of the Citizens?

The Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Justice H.L. Dattu addressing at the Valedictory Session of the two-day National Seminar on Good Governance, Development and Human Rights, organised by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), in New Delhi on September 22, 2017. (file photo). Courtesy: PIB
The Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Justice H.L. Dattu addressing at the Valedictory Session of the two-day National Seminar on Good Governance, Development and Human Rights, organised by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), in New Delhi on September 22, 2017. (file photo). Courtesy: PIB

The Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu, has said that India has been unequivocal in its commitment to the preservation and protection of human rights globally as well as within the country.

He was addressing a gathering on Monday after inaugurating the National Human Rights Conclave being organized as a part of the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), here today.

The Vice President reaffirmed that human rights were the most natural rights, inherent to all human beings without discrimination. He also asked the state with the primary responsibility of upholding, respecting, protecting and fulfilling these inalienable rights.

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He applauded India’s robust human rights protection framework comprising of a fiercely independent and fair judiciary, media, civil society and a number of proactive and independent human right bodies, such as the NHRC. India is also a signatory to several of the core UN Human Rights and International Labour Organization’s conventions, he added.

The Vice President appreciated the good work done by NHRC as a diligent watchdog of human rights protection and said that the massive rise in the number of complaints received by the NHRC from 496 in 1993 to 79,612 cases in 2018 were a testament to the faith that the people of India placed on the NHRC.

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The Vice President highlighted several challenges that lay in the path towards securing human rights. He warned that Indian democracy allows space for everyone to express their opinions. He welcomed ‘dissent’ but warned that ‘disintegration’ would not be tolerated.

In his address, Justice H. L. Dattu, Chairperson, NHRC deliberated upon creating widespread awareness of the public and strengthening constitutional and legal provisions which thereby provide extensive system of checks and balances.

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By monitoring human rights situations through camp sittings, open hearings, setting up of a bonded labor cell, appointment of special rapporteurs, constituting core and expert groups, NHRC is acting as a focal point for human rights defenders.

Justice Dattu identified poverty, gender inequalities, bonded labor, trafficking, displacement of refugees as some of the challenges to human rights protection.

The International Conclave is aimed at providing the platform to the national human rights institutions of various countries, global networks of NHRIs, government and non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders to share their views and to deliberate on the road ahead on important human rights concerns.

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Rakesh Raman