Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday said “progress on human rights” in India will largely depend on how the country takes steps to protect “free exchange of ideas and dissent”. Addressing the International Human Rights Conclave, Naidu said, “Progress on human rights in India and on the larger global scale will depend on the steps we take to ensure justice and accountability for all citizens, protect vulnerable communities, protect the free exchange of ideas and dissent, increase accountability among public servants, private sector as well as police and other security forces.”
He said that “human rights activists” groups “seem to think differently” and maintain “a stoic silence” when “innocents are killed by left-wing extremists”.
“…I would like to point out that human rights are equal for all, irrespective of caste, creed and gender. Unfortunately, some human rights activists or groups seem to think differently. While they raise a hue and cry whenever there is an incident involving the police or security forces, a stoic silence is maintained when innocents are killed by left wing extremists or terrorists,” he said.
“Legislation alone does not guarantee human rights — for every piece of progressive legislation, there is still the struggle against the tardy implementation of these laws. These gaps in existence and implementation of legislation are further exacerbated by other important, structural causes which impede the effective realisation of human rights, including poverty, corruption, terrorism, climate change, challenges of universal healthcare and education, and changing demographic realities of our times,” he said.
Naidu pointed out that “there are several human rights challenges that continue to confront us as a global society”. “I am sure you would all agree that despite formidable human rights protection frameworks — nationally, regionally, and internationally, and the significant strides that have been made since the setting up of the United Nations, there are several human rights challenges that continue to confront us as a global society. Questions continue to arise with regard to the gaps in actual implementation of the various international and domestic treaties, legislations and declarations in effectively realising human rights standards on ground,” he said.