India needs to play major role in shaping up global human rights: UN Secy Gen

New Delhi, Oct 19 (Mayank Nigam) Secretary General of United Nations, Antonio Guterres, on Wednesday said that India has a responsibility to shape up global human rights, protect and promote the rights of all individuals, including the minorities, nurture and strengthen it in its diverse and pluralistic society. Addressing the students at IIT-Bombay here, he reminded that here, Mahatma Gandhi’s principles would help by recognising the enormous values and contributions of the multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-ethnic societies, and unequivocal condemnation of hate-speech.

The UN Secretary-General called for practising the values of Mahatma Gandhi to achieve all-inclusivity, protecting the rights of all sections in the richly diverse country to make it stronger. He said that this would enable the country to gain credibility on the world stage due to its commitment to inclusivity, respect for human rights and dignity of all people, especially the most vulnerable, the freedoms of journalists, activists, academics and students, by condemning hate-speech and ensuring the continued independence of India’s judiciary. Guterres asked Indians to be vigilant and step-up investments in inclusive, pluralistic, diverse communities and societies, besides doing much more to uphold women’s rights and gender equality, in this country and all over the world. While underscoring importance of women’s rights and gender equality, he described them as a ‘moral imperative’ and said that they will also serve as a multiplier for prosperity, sustainability and overall progress of society.

No society can achieve full potential without equal rights for all women, men, girls and boys, he asserted. Terming violence against women as “a big cancer”, the UN Secretary-General asked every nation to tackle it by preparing an emergency plan and expressed his concern over the way in which women activists and politicians are being targeted on social media with ‘terrible campaign’. Guterres also took opportunity to highlight India’s contribution by way of sending military and police personnel to various UN Missions, including the first all-women peace-keeping mission, and added that over 200,000 Indian security personnel have served in 49 similar missions in past 75 years.