: “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,” said UN secretary general Antonio Guterres in Mumbai on Wednesday.
“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 told IIT-Bombay students.
‘Need to condemn hate speech, shield rights’
UN secretary general Antonio Guterres on Wednesday said the Indian model of plurality is based on a simple but profound understanding that diversity is a richness that makes the country stronger. “That understanding is the birthright of every Indian, but it is not a guarantee. It must be nurtured, strengthened and renewed every day,” he said, adding that this could be achieved by practicing the values of Mahatma Gandhi, by securing and upholding the rights and dignity of all people, especially the most vulnerable, by taking concrete action for inclusion, recognising the enormous value and contributions of multicultural, multi-religious and multi-ethnic societies.
Guterres also stressed the need for condemning hate speech unequivocally, and protecting the rights and freedoms of journalists, human rights activists, students and academics, and ensuring the continued independence of India’s judiciary. “I urge Indians to be vigilant and to increase investments in inclusive, pluralistic communities and societies,” he added.
Speaking about gender equality, he said a lot needs to be done to advance women’s rights in India and in the world. He also described violence against women as a ‘big cancer’ and called for an emergency plan to tackle it in every country. The UN is working to achieve gender parity within its organisation, he said. “I must confess there is one problem that I didn’t manage to solve. Many people thought, and I fully respect that, the secretary general of UN must be a woman,” he said.
Guterres said India is increasing its impact on the international stage by extending support to neighbouring countries… through ‘your donations of medicines, equipment and vaccines at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, through your humanitarian assistance and development finance in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka’.
Guterres further said that the G20 nations are responsible for 80% of global emissions and that they must take the lead in cutting greenhouse gases. He urged emerging economies to help close the mitigation gap.