On the occasion of International Human Rights Day, Vice President Hamid Ansari has said that natural resources conflict, gender equality, caste, communal, ethnic conflicts and environmental implications over developmental projects have become part of human rights agenda. He said the day is remembered by all who care about humanity and wish to propel it away from brutality and towards humaneness in greater measure.
The Vice President also stressed on the human rights abuse by various non-state actors like violent insurgent groups, terrorists and extremists, both from the Left and Right, and called these as major challenges. Over the past two decades a consensus has emerged that with respect to human rights, states have a threefold responsibility: to respect, to protect, and to fulfill their obligations, but added that the extent to which principles and international mechanisms based on human rights can and do go, as also the question of their universal applicability without exceptions, is the subject of vigorous debate and much controversy on international forums.
Mr. Ansari said the framers of the Constitution were aware of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Fundamental Rights enshrined in the Constitution cover most of the rights that had been articulated in the Universal Declaration, but there is at times a gap between what the official agencies project and what is perceived to be the situation on the ground.
One reason for this is wider public awareness of human rights norms and another is the extent and speed with which defaults or alleged violations are brought to public notice, he said. According to him, in a vibrant and robust democracy like ours, there is no shame in acknowledging the faults and the lacunae that exist in the policies and institutions pertaining to human rights.
He said the point of reference should be the Constitution of India and the principles, rights and duties enunciated therein.