The Hindu | GS 2
Theme of the article
As a democracy, India must have a better record of upholding human rights.
It is often stated that it is time for India, as the world’s largest democracy, to take on an increasingly significant mantle in the international realm. Aspects such as economic and military power have been the usual focus of this debate. However, an important component of this enhanced stature necessarily relates to the safeguarding and protecting of human rights.
India’s position on International Human Rights
- In India, there is a blind spot in relation to rights and the intersection with foreign relations and policy discussions.
- India is a torchbearer of democracy and should therefore have a greater say in upholding international laws and standards pertaining to human rights.
Human Rights situation in India
- Within the country, many lawyers, activists, academics and human rights organisations have pointed to the deteriorating climate in relation to human rights.
- UN independent experts issued a statement drawing attention to “extrajudicial” killings in Uttar Pradesh.
- This enhanced and negative scrutiny by Independent Experts follows on the heels of the first ever UN report on human rights violations in Kashmir, conducted by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
- A review of the press releases by the UN human rights office from 2010 to date shows that there have been 26 critical statements. The statements have dealt with a number of issues, including the Assam National Register of Citizens process, online hate speech, the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh, jailing of human rights defenders, deportation of Rohingya refugees, and excessive police response to protests.
- India’s record of upholding human rights is abysmal; it must do better.
- The primary consideration should be the welfare and rights of individuals within the purview of the state.
- The secondary consideration should be perception and the place that India wants for itself in terms of stature and prestige.
The respect of the rights of individuals must be non-negotiable.