Statement by India under Agenda Item 5: ID with ASG on SG report on reprisals in the 42nd Session of the Human Rights Council (09-27 September 2019), delivered by Mr. S. Senthil Kumar, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of India, (Geneva, 19th September 2019)

Statement by India under Agenda Item 5: ID with ASG on SG report on reprisals in the 42nd Session of the Human Rights Council (09-27 September 2019), delivered by Mr. S. Senthil Kumar, First Secretary,

Permanent Mission of India, (Geneva, 19th September 2019)

Mr President,

1.Any act of reprisals and intimidation against those for cooperating with UN and its mechanisms in the field of human rights are unacceptable. India is committed to ensuring a safe working environment for all including those engaged in promoting and protecting human rights.

2. All representations of acts of reprisals/threats are examined on the basis of information available and appropriate action is taken. The National Human Rights Commission treats protection of human rights defenders as one of their core priorities. The Press Council of India works towards ensuring safety of journalists and monitors cases filed on the issues of threats against journalists. The very fact that India has millions of active and vocal civil society and their active cooperation with the UN system reflects our policy.

3. Our focus is on bringing transparency in governance which has a strong bearing on the day-to-day working of human rights defenders. The Digital India programme and the Right to Information Act are our efforts in this direction. While being committed to the principle of protection of human rights defenders, we would like all their activities to be in conformity with the legal framework of India and the rights guaranteed to all citizens by the Constitution of India.

4. It is also essential that all information received by the UN system should be duly corroborated. The mere claim of cooperating with UN cannot be used as an alibi to misuse UN human rights mechanism for political purposes. The alleged cases listed in the SG's report should take into account judicial proceedings under applicable national laws and rule of law to establish facts and find acceptance among the member states. These efforts would certainly strengthen these mechanisms and soliciting more cooperation, engagement and trusts from all states.

5. Issue of reprisals which is a serious agenda of the Council should never be politicized. Enhancing capacity of member states would help in addressing the challenges of reprisals and intimidations.

Thank you Mr President.

 
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