Strongly stressing that “non-state actors” like violent insurgent groups pose a major challenge to the human rights, Vice President Md. Hamid Ansari opined that natural resources conflict, gender equality, caste, communal, ethnic conflicts and environmental implications over developmental projects have become part of human rights agenda. The Vice President was speaking at an event in New Delhi celebrating International Human Rights Day on Thursday.
“The framers of our own Constitution were aware of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights…. Article 14 establishes the Right to Equality creating the basis of non-discrimination, a corner stone for the application of Human Rights,” he said.
He also cited how the courts of law have further enhanced the sphere of human rights, helping in a way to counter human rights violation.
“Over the years our courts have dwelt on the notion of fundamental rights in the Constitution and have expanded their scope and nature,” the Vice President said.
VP Ansari, however, stressed most on the need to counter human rights violation by the “non-state actors”, such as violent insurgent groups, terrorists and extremists, both from the Left and Right.
“How should we, as a society, react to them? One possible reaction is to dismiss them as devoid of veracity or denounce them as the work of hostile elements, even consider their work as ‘detrimental to national interest’…. The other is to respond to them in a mature fashion,” the Vice President told gathering.
Speaking further Ansari said International Human Rights Day is remembered by all who care about humanity and wish to “propel it away from brutality and towards humaneness in greater measure”.
Highlighting three characteristics of these rights, he said they are natural and accrue to us by the virtue of being humans; they are universal and pertain to all human beings irrespective of nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status; and they are inalienable and cannot be taken away except in specific situations and according to due process.
Emphasising on the responsibilities of the governments of the day in safeguarding the human rights, he said though the “institutional structure” is firmly in place, still need to focus on the how we must reach the “desired objectives”.
“We need to focus on the extent to which the desired objectives have been attained, practical impediments to their achievement, the efficacy of the governmental efforts, and the civil society’s role and its assessment of the human rights situation in the country,” the Vice President said.
He ended his address stressing we must keep taking corrective actions over the shortcomings and the faults, if any, in its policies and institutions pertaining to human rights.
“In a vibrant and robust democracy like ours, there is no shame in acknowledging the faults and the lacunae that exist in the policies and institutions pertaining to human rights. Our point of reference should be the Constitution of India and the principles, rights and duties enunciated therein,” the Vice President summarised his address.