Statement by India at the 40th Session of the Human Rights Council (25 February - 22 March 2019): General Segment, delivered by Ambassador Rajiv K. Chander, Permanent Representative of India [27 February 2019, Geneva]

Statement by India at the 40th Session of the Human Rights Council

(25 February – 22 March 2019): General Segment,

delivered by Ambassador Rajiv K. Chander, Permanent Representative of India

[27 February 2019, Geneva] 

Mr. Vice President,

As India returns to the Human Rights Council, we would continue to engage constructively to bring in a pluralistic, moderate and balanced perspective. We would like to take this opportunity to express our deep gratitude to all our friends for their support. We will strive to work towards realisation of our common objectives.

2.  My delegation would like to thank those States and entities that have expressed overwhelming support for India and condemned the dastardly terrorist attack in Pulwama District of the Indian State of Jammu & Kashmir for which responsibility has been publicly claimed by Jaish-e-Mohammad, a Pakistan based terrorist entity. The UNSC statement of 21 February 2019 on this issue points clearly to terrorism constituting one of the most serious threats to international peace and security and the need to hold accountable all those responsible and bring them to justice.

3.  Terrorism remains the most pernicious violation of all fundamental human rights. Despite terrorism being acknowledged as among the foremost global challenges, any meaningful collective response to deal with this menace continues to be thwarted by some. The Human Rights Council should actively support the UN led consensus on zero tolerance on terrorism.

Mr. Vice President,

4.  The Government of India is firmly and resolutely committed to taking all necessary measures to fight the menace of terrorism. The non-military preemptive action on 26 February was specifically targeted at the Jaish-e-Mohammad camp. The selection of the target was also conditioned by our desire to avoid civilian casualties. India has been repeatedly urging Pakistan to take action against the Jaish-e-Mohammad to prevent Jihadis from being trained and armed inside Pakistan. The Government of Pakistan had made a solemn commitment in January 2004 not to allow its soil or territory under its control to be used for terrorism against India. We expect that Pakistan lives up to its public commitment and takes follow up actions to dismantle all Jaish-e-Mohammad and other camps and hold the terrorists accountable for the actions.

5.  India’s engagement with the global discourse on human rights has always favoured an inclusive and constructive approach based on dialogue, consultation and cooperation. Our commitment on the agenda dates back to the early days of the Commission on Human Rights and the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

6.  India’s efforts towards protection and promotion of human rights are second to none. This is reflected in the Constitution of India that guarantees its citizens fundamental political and civil rights and provides for the progressive realization and enforcement of economic, social and cultural rights.

7.  Our experience demonstrates that a democratic pluralistic society with a secular polity, an impartial and independent judiciary, a vibrant civil society, a free media and independent National and State Human Rights Commissions, ensure respect for constitutional and human rights norms.

Mr. Vice President,

8.  As we celebrate 70 years of adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we need to introspect about progress in establishing a framework of human rights as well as methods adopted for its effective realization. While doing so we need to be cognizant of levels of development, social and cultural contexts and governance systems of member States.

9.  It is imperative to recognize the Right to Development as a distinct, universal, inalienable and fundamental human right that is applicable to all people and on equal footing as civil and political rights for sustainable peace and prosperity across the world.

10.  In the evolution of global debate on human rights, fundamental differences in views remain on relative prioritisation of the individual vs State; national sovereignty vs international norms and universal vs culture-specific approach.

11.  Striving for consensus on prioritisation as well as interpretation of various rights is the best way to promote and protect human rights. An aggressive 'naming and shaming' exercise has its limits, is often counter-productive, and, tends to politicization of human rights issues. The human rights agenda must be pursued in a fair and equitable manner with objectivity, respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-interference in the internal affairs of States, non-selectivity and transparency. In this regard, India welcomes the increasing engagement by the High Commissioner with the States and other stakeholders which would help in promoting dialogue and cooperation. The High Commissioner herself has recently shared with Member States the challenges faced by her in promoting human rights in the form of capacity building and technical assistance due to severe financial and human resource constraints.  All these and other issues such as equitable geographical representation in OHCHR should be reviewed as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the post of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

12.  India remains committed towards meaningful engagement with international organizations as well as other States.

Thank you, Mr. Vice President



 
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