Faced with UN criticism on human rights violations, India invokes ‘sabka saath sabka vikas’


UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, on Monday, had criticized India with regards to the deportation of Rohingyas as also on religious intolerance and threat to rights activists. UN Chief’s comments at the 36th Session of the UN Human Rights Council had sent out a strong message conveying UNs displeasure on the matter.

File Photo: PTI

On Tuesday, India strongly rejected this criticism, be it pertaining to Rohingya Muslim refugees, human rights situations in Jammu and Kashmir or the observation relating to the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh, saying it was “perplexed” at the remarks.

In a tough retort, India said it was surprised that individual incidents are being “extrapolated” to suggest a broader societal situation. In response to Hussein’s comments, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Chander quoted,

“We are perplexed at some of the observations made by the High Commissioner in his oral update. There appears to be inadequate appreciation of the freedoms and rights that are guaranteed and practiced daily in a vibrant democracy that has been built under challenging conditions.”

Further rejecting the criticism, Chander said, “Tendentious judgments made on the basis of selective and even inaccurate reports do not further the understanding of human rights in any society.”

He continued, “Like many other nations, India is concerned about illegal migrants, in particular, with the possibility that they could pose security challenges, enforcing the laws should not be mistaken for lack of compassion. “It is also surprising that individual incidents are being extrapolated to suggest a broader societal situation. India is proud of its independent judiciary, freedom of press, vibrant civil society and respect for rule of law and human rights”

He not only pledged that a more informed view would have not only recognized this aspect, but also reiterated that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had himself publicly condemned violence in the name of cow protection. On the matter, he quoted,

“India does not condone any actions in violation of law and imputations to the contrary are not justified,”

Further, on observation involving the issue of human rights situations in Jammu and Kashmir, he said, “It is a matter of regret that the central role of terrorism is once again being overlooked.”

The Indian envoy believed that the assessments of human rights should not be a matter of political convenience.

“India believes that achieving human rights goals calls for objective consideration, balanced judgments and verification of facts.

“Our Government s motto of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas (Inclusive Development), is a true reflection of our commitment to achieve inclusive development in the spirit of leaving none of our citizens behind,” Chander added.

As per estimates from the UN, approximately 40,000 Rohingyas have settled in India, of which, 16,000 of them have received refugee documentation.

To recall a contrasting view from the government, India’s Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, on 5 September had stated, that Rohingyas were illegal immigrants and stand to be deported.