Modi cautions against a selective interpretation of human rights
New Delhi, October 12, 2021
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today cautioned against a selective interpretation of human rights and using it to diminish the image of the country.
Addressing the 28th National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) foundation day programme through video conference, the Prime Minister said, “Of late, some people have started interpreting human rights from their angle as per their selfish interests. The tendency to see infringement in one situation and not in another has caused great damage.
“The biggest infringement of human rights takes place when they are seen from the prism of politics and political profit and loss. This selective behaviour is equally damaging for democracy, too,” he added.
Human rights are not only associated with rights but formed part of the citizen’s duties. “Rights and duties are two tracks on which the journey of human development and dignity takes place. Duties are equally important as rights and they should not be discussed separately as they complement each other,” Modi said.
India’s freedom movement and its history have been a great source of inspiration for human rights and the values of human rights for India. “As a nation, as a society, we resisted injustice-atrocities, we fought for our rights for centuries. At a time when the whole world was engulfed in the violence of World War I, India suggested the path of rights and non-violence to the whole world. Not only India but the whole world sees our Bapu as a symbol of human rights and human values.
“Even when, on many occasions, the world was disillusioned and confused, India remained steadfast and sensitive towards human rights,” he added.
The concept of human rights was closely related to the dignity of the poor. When the poorest of the poor do not get an equal share of the government schemes then the question of rights arises, Modi said.
Referring to the government’s efforts to ensure the dignity of the poor, he said when a poor person gets toilets ensuring freedom from open defecation, he gets dignity. Similarly, a poor man who was hesitant to enter a bank gets a Jan Dhan account which ensures his dignity. Measures like Rupay card, Ujjwala gas connections and property rights of pucca houses for women were major steps in this direction.
In the past few years, the country has also tried to remove the injustice happening at different levels in different sections. “For decades, Muslim women had been demanding a law against triple talaq. We have given new rights to them by enacting a law against triple talaq. Several sectors have been opened for women and it has been ensured that they can work with security round the clock. India has ensured 26 weeks of paid maternity leave for career women, a feat that even many developed nations could not achieve," he said.
The Prime Minister listed the measures by the government for trans-genders, children and nomadic and semi-nomadic communities.
Referring to the inspired performance of the para-athletes in Paralympics, he said that in recent years laws have been enacted for the differently abled. They have been connected to new facilities. Buildings were being made disabled-friendly and the language for them was being standardized.
Modi said that during the pandemic, poor, helpless and senior citizens were given direct financial support through their bank account. Migrant labourers were spared much hassle due to the implementation of "One Nation-One Ration Card", he added.