President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday called for promotion and protection of human rights.
"Human Rights Day is an occasion for us to reflect on the journey that we, as a nation, have travelled so far on the path outlined by the Constitution of India and what we need to do further to make human rights and dignified existence for all our people a reality," said President Mukherjee in his speech at the Human Rights Day function here.
"On this occasion of Human Rights day, I call upon our Government, the judiciary, statutory bodies like the National Commission and civil society to do their utmost for the promotion and protection of human rights. We must increase awareness for human rights by including it as a subject in school curricula. A human rights culture should infuse our national consciousness," he added.
President Mukherjee said 'we have an outstanding Constitution and a plethora of sound laws and policies to uphold different dimensions of human rights'.
"However, such an elaborate legal infrastructure to manage human rights will count for nothing if implementation is lacking in form and spirit. We must therefore focus efforts on translating our laws and Constitutional provisions into a reality for the common man," he added.
President Mukherjee said the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has since its inception in 1993 rendered yeoman service for the promotion and protection of human rights in the country.
"It has been playing a pivotal role in safeguarding the rights of the people. It has been involved in spreading human rights awareness and sensitization among various sections of society. The fact that people with impeccable credentials have occupied positions in this Commission has added to the credibility of this institution. It is due to this credibility enjoyed by the institution that the highest court of the country has been assigning matters of extreme importance to it," said President Mukherjee.
"The Protection of Human Rights Act which established the NHRC is widely seen as a model legislation and has been since emulated by many countries of the world. The successful functioning of our Commission has also inspired similar bodies in many other countries. The Commission has over the years made significant contribution to the protection and advancement of the right to life, liberty and dignity of the individual, by virtue of its prestige and expertise. It has also contributed to the growth of a human rights movement in the country," he added.
Pointing out that the inevitable confluence of political and socio-economic rights in the cause of all round development of the country has been well understood by the NHRC, President Mukherjee said: " The work done by it in the field of eradication of child labour and bonded labour, creating and ensuring access to rights by children, women and people living on the margins of society, and public health, etc. is commendable."
The President said on this day, in 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which proclaims that 'All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights'.
"64 years have passed since then. The Declaration has provided guidance to many nations in ensuring their laws are in tandem with the fundamentals of human rights," he added.
President Mukherjee said 'in world where human rights continues to remain a challenge in advanced as well as developing countries, the Declaration stands as a beacon for the international community on the standards it should set for the defence and promotion of human rights'.
" The Universal Declaration is a reference document from which all subsequent human rights legal instruments have evolved to ensure protection of the weak and disadvantaged from injustice and arbitrary treatment," he added. (ANI)