NEW DELHI — Home Minister Amit Shah said on Saturday called for ensuring synergy between “our cultural values” and the modern approach to human rights so that India emerges as one of the best in the world in terms of human rights.
He was addressing the 26th Foundation Day celebrations of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) as the chief guest.
The minister said protective human rights of children, women, poor and marginalised sections are inbuilt in the social fabric of the country.
He said traditional Indian social structures and institutions have been the inherent protectors of several human rights, without any legal obligation needed to enforce this protection, a statement from the government said.
“In our family system, the human rights of children and children are protected without any interference of law. In villages, there are many organisations which are helping the poor and the underprivileged as their duty for years. If you go to villages, there are many organisations who take care of poor people,” the minister said.
He said this shows that protection and promotion of human rights have always been an indelible part of our culture.
He said if the country can synergise traditions with novel concept of human rights commission, then India would be among the best countries in the world in terms of human rights.
Shah said the concept of human rights as applied in India was very different from that applicable globally, the statement said.
The minister called for a broader definition of human rights and said the Indian motto of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (world is one family) has the protection and promotion of human rights inbuilt within it, it said.
He asked the NHRC and other institutions in the field of human rights to rise above the confines of law and take the protection of human rights as a sacred ethical duty, it said.
The minister asked NHRC Chairman HL Dattu to consider giving space to people working towards protection of human rights in the larger context of human rights ecosystem of India.
Terming terrorism and naxalism as the greatest violations of human rights, he said while the government policy is zero tolerance to custodial deaths and police atrocities, one cannot ignore the human rights violations of 40,000 people who have lost lives in Kashmir since advent of terrorism in 1990s and those who did not get benefits of development in naxal-affected zones.
Underlining various welfare measures of the government, Shah said poverty and violence were major challenges to human rights and any step taken to eliminate poverty will immediately enhance India’s standing in the field of human rights.
He said welfare schemes of the Modi government have benefitted 70 crore people who lacked basic facilities like electricity, house, health, cooking gas among others since Independence, which in his view, was also a violation of their human rights.