Statement by India at the High-Level Segment during the 49th Session of the Human Rights Council (28 February – 1 April 2022), delivered by  Ms. Reenat Sandhu, Vice Minister, Ministry of External Affairs [Geneva, 01 March, 2022] Statement by India at the High-Level Segment during the 49th Session of the Human Rights Council (28..

Statement by India at the High-Level Segment during the 49th Session of the Human Rights Council (28 February – 1 April 2022), delivered by  Ms. Reenat Sandhu, Vice Minister, Ministry of External Affairs [Geneva, 01 March, 2022]

Statement by India at the High-Level Segment during the 49th Session of the Human Rights Council (28 February – 1 April 2022), delivered by  Ms. Reenat Sandhu, Vice Minister, Ministry of External Affairs
[Geneva, 01 March, 2022]

Mr. President,

I congratulate you on your election as President of the Council and assure you of my delegation’s full cooperation.

  1. 2.India is a country that believes in our civilizational ethos of 'आत्मवत् सर्वभूतेषु' namely, treating all human beings as one. We are a society that is firmly rooted in ideals of equality and social justice. We have adopted the mantra of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas’ that is “working together for inclusive development for all while securing the trust and contribution of all” for providing inclusive and participatory governance and development.
  1. 3.Prime Minister Modi, speaking at 28th Foundation Day of National Human Rights Commission, has underlined our civilizational ideal of आत्मनः प्रति-कूलानि परेषाम् न समाचारेत्। i.e. “Do not behave with any other person in a manner which you consider is inimical to you.” It implies that enjoyment of human rights also entails for us certain duties as human beings. We should care not only about our rights but embrace the rights of others as our duty. As this belief permeates our society, human rights have naturally been accepted as one of the core values of our society. As Mahatma Gandhi, Father of our Nation said, rights and duties should be seen together and not in isolation. It is our experience that our rights are ensured if there is equal emphasis on observance of our duties.
  1. 4.Our vibrant and inclusive democracy provides a conducive and enabling ecosystem for promotion and protection of human rights. Democracy in India is not just a system of governance, but an article of faith. It is also a source of inspiration for billions around the world. Our Constitution has enshrined basic human rights as Fundamental rights, guaranteeing civil and political rights, stipulating provisions for progressive realization of economic, social and cultural rights. These continue to evolve and be enforced through legislation by Parliament, progressive interpretation of laws by our independent judiciary and active participation of civil society, vibrant media and citizens.
  1. 5.Through our independent judiciary and independent institutions, including Category A National Human Rights Commission, National Commissions for Minorities, National Commission for Women, National Commission for Scheduled Castes and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, we have created a mechanism to enable our citizens to enjoy their fundamental rights and have their grievances redressed.
  1. 6.India's active engagement with the global human rights agenda dates back to the early days of the Commission on Human Rights and drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights treaties.
  1. 7.India has recently been re-elected to the Human Rights Council for another three year term for 2022-24. We are committed to bring in pluralistic, moderate and balanced perspectives, to bridge multiple divides in human rights discourse and action, within the Human Rights Council and beyond. We believe that promotion and protection of human rights are best pursued through dialogue, consultation and cooperation among UN Member States and through provision of technical assistance and capacity building.
  1. 8.Even after adoption of the Universal Declaration on Human rights, 73 years ago, the international human rights discourse has remained contentious and divided. The Human Rights Council, since its inception, as a successor to the Commission on Human Rights, has continued to grapple with ideological and political divides. We strongly believe that the Council should promote and protect all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development, in a fair and balanced manner. The human rights agenda, including the Council’s contribution towards prevention of human rights violations, must be pursued in an impartial manner with due respect for the principles and purposes of the UN Charter.
  1. 9.India firmly believes that the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Human Rights Council is an effective instrument for promotion and protection of human rights. India will be undergoing its 4th UPR later this year and we seek support and constructive engagement of the member States.

Mr. President,

  1. 10.Terrorism is the most serious violation of human rights as it violates the most fundamental human right - namely ‘the Right to Life’. The international community must take resolute action against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, to prevent and stop violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of innocent victims of terrorism. It is important for us to affirm that terrorism can never be justified, nor its perpetrators ever equated with its victims. India’s External Affairs Minister had presented last year to the UN Security Council an 8 Point Action Plan on combatting terrorism and we are committed to contribute to global action in this regard.
  1. 11.India’s abiding commitment to promotion and protection of basic human rights has been manifest in our strategy to deal with COVID 19 pandemic. Following our vision of 'One Earth, One Health', and our commitment to the welfare of the entire humanity, we have contributed to global action against Covid pandemic by providing necessary medicines and vaccines to more than 150 countries. We have ourselves administered more than 1.7 billion doses of vaccines in just over a year. More than 90 percent of our adult citizens have received the first dose of the vaccine, whereas more than 70 percent have been administered both the doses.
  1. 12.India has undertaken unprecedented steps, aimed at economic and social transformation of India especially during the pandemic. We have continued to provide direct food support to 800 million Indians and financial support to 445 million, many of them women.
  1. 13.The development initiatives undertaken by my Government include the world’s largest financial inclusion scheme, which covers 445 million aspirational Indians, including 115 million farmers; free health insurance coverage to 500 million; provision of 150 million homes to the underprivileged including 20 million to women; 85 million free gas connections to deserving women belonging to rural households; providing electricity to all villages; construction of 110 million toilets in the last 5 years to improve personal hygiene and sanitation; bringing tap water connection to every household in the country by 2024 etc. We have endeavored to make our development sustainable, inclusive and green. Our developmental successes have contributed immensely in enjoyment of basic human rights by our people. We, therefore, support full realization of the Right to Development.
  1. 14.Let me conclude by reiterating our commitment to ensure fullest enjoyment of basic human rights of our people, including through inclusive and sustainable development. India is building a better and fairer society at home; it is also contributing to a better and fairer world.
  1. 15.I thank you, Mr. President, for giving me the floor and I wish the Council success in its endeavours.

Jai Hind.