Statement by India at the 40th Session of Human Rights Council (25 February – 22 March 2019) under General Debate: Agenda Item 8, delivered by Ms Mini Devi Kumam, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of India [18 March 2019, Geneva]

Statement by India at the 40th Session of Human Rights Council (25 February – 22 March 2019) under General Debate: Agenda Item 8, delivered by Ms Mini Devi Kumam, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of India
[18 March 2019, Geneva]

Madam Vice President,

       The VDPA represents the broadest political consensus achieved in the field of promotion and protection of human rights by the international community. The universality of human rights is at the core of VDPA that guides us to treat all rights on equal footing with same emphasis. When one set of rights is given more prominence in the agenda of the Council, it could lead to trust erosion and reluctance to cooperate undermining the very basis for which this Council was established. The right to development deserves its due in the human rights agenda as recognized in the VDPA.

2. The interdependence and the mutually re-enforcing nature of democracy, development and human rights seems to be getting side-lined in the pursuit of objectives that are overtly political in nature. This calls for utmost caution as increasingly contentious and acrimonious dialogue in the Council poses severe challenge to its effective and efficient functioning.

3. The main reason for divergence on priorities and concerns on issues of human rights by member states is not hard to find. Different levels of development, social and cultural contexts and governance systems among the member states have led to disagreements not only on the prioritization but also in the interpretation of various rights. India, therefore, reaffirms its view that a more inclusive, participatory and positive approach through dialogue and capacity building is the best way to promote and protect human rights.

4. Constraints on national capacities to implement certain rights should be duly recognized and the role of the Council in providing technical capacity building should not be limited only to a few situations. Greater focus on capacity building and technical assistance, for those in need, would be useful to address implementation gaps by States towards their human rights obligations.

5. India's approach to human rights continues to evolve as more rights become justiciable and through the process of progressive interpretation of laws by the judiciary. India remains committed to bring in a pluralistic, moderate and balanced perspective to help bridge multiple divides in the human rights discourse.

Thank you, Madam Vice President.

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