UN chief Antonio Guterres criticizes India over human rights performance
The United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday chastised India for its record on human rights. Guterres stated that India must support the rights of all citizens and members of minority communities as an elected member of the Human Rights Council. He also stated that hate speech must be denounced unequivocally in accordance with the beliefs of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.
Why does this story matter?
- His vehement remark comes amid the recent hate speeches by members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Viswa Hindu Parishad (VHP).
- According to reports, UN campaigners said that persecution and hate speech against religious minorities had reportedly increased since Narendra Modi came to office in 2014.
- During this time, government critics and journalists too faced a barrage of vitriol and threats.
What exactly did UN chief say?
"As an elected member of the Human Rights Council, India has a responsibility to shape global human rights, and to protect and promote the rights of all individuals, including members of minority communities," Guterres said in Mumbai, during his three-visit. Guterres stressed the country's diversity saying that hate speech must be rejected forcefully, invoking the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.
Rights of journalists, activists must be preserved: Guterres
Guterres stated that India must preserve the rights and freedoms of journalists, human rights activists, students, and intellectuals, as well as maintain the judiciary's independence. "India's voice on the global stage can only gain in authority and credibility from a strong commitment to inclusivity and respect for human rights at home," he said. Gender equality and women's rights must be prioritized, he added.
Echoed Government of India's assertion over climate change
Regarding climate change, Guterres agreed with New Delhi's position that developed economies must take the initiative in reducing carbon emissions. He said developing nations like India must be aided to promote renewable energy. However, the UN chief said that countries like India must take an extra step to address the mitigation gap alluding to initiatives to curtail or stop greenhouse gas emissions.
India can 'make or break' world's sustainable development by 2030
According to Guterres, India has the power to "make or break" the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals as its home to one-sixth of the world's population, Due to the COVID-19 epidemic and the rising expense of living, which has been stimulated by the war in Ukraine, some of these principles have gone into reverse, he claimed.