Statement by India under Agenda Item 3 (Clustered Interactive Dialogue with the SR on the right to freedom of opinion and expression and SR on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association) at the 41st Session of the Human Rights Council (24th June 2019 to 12th July 2019) delivered by Mr. Vimarsh Aryan, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of India (Geneva, 26th June 2019)

Statement by India under Agenda Item 3 (Clustered Interactive Dialogue with the SR on the right to freedom of opinion and expression and SR on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association) at the 41st Session of the Human Rights Council (24th June 2019 to 12th July 2019) delivered by Mr. Vimarsh Aryan, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of India (Geneva, 26th June 2019)

Thank you Madam Vice President,

India takes note of the reports by both the Special Rapporteurs and thanks them for their presentations.

Madam Vice President,

2. With one-sixth of the global population, India is the world’s largest democracy that is home to a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-linguistic population that has lived together for millennia with an ethos of respect for diversity and plurality. Supported by a rights oriented constitutional framework, a secular polity, and independent judiciary, a range of national and state level commissions that monitor compliance with human rights, a free press, and a vibrant and vocal civil society, India continues its endeavours towards fulfilling its human rights obligations. Recognising the universality, indivisibility and interrelatedness of all human rights, India places equal emphasis on the civil and political rights and freedoms of its citizens as well as their socio-economic development.

3. India recognises the centrality of free speech and expression to its constitutional order. At the same time, in order to protect the country’s pluralistic character, its multi-ethnic and multi-religious social fabric, as well as to promote social harmony, a range of laws prohibit speech that has harmful social consequences. India recognises the importance of extending free speech guarantees to activities on the internet. At the same time, recognising the potential for misuse of the internet for inciting violence, spreading rumours and hatred or committing other illegal activities, there are appropriate legal measures put in place to prohibit such harmful activities. In order to prevent arbitrary use of this power to block content on the internet, India has also put in place various adequate procedural safeguards such as the right to appeal a blocking decision, and the requirement for reasons in writing for issuing a blocking order.

Madam Vice President,

4. India believes that progress towards realising its human rights obligations requires constant dialogue, engagement and coordination with various stakeholders, and in particular with other national authorities and human rights institutions.

Thank You.

 
33rd Session of Universal Periodic Review (06-17 May 2019)
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