The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi addressed the Silver Jubilee Foundation Day function of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on 12 October 2018. He said that in the last two and a half decades, NHRC has contributed to nation building, by becoming the voice of the deprived and the oppressed. He said that the protection of human rights has been an important part of our culture. He said that after independence, elements such as an independent and impartial judiciary, an active media, an active civil society and organizations such as NHRC are in place to protect human rights.
The Prime Minister said that human rights should not be merely a slogan, but also a part of our ethos. He said that in the last four years or so, a lot of serious efforts have been made to improve the quality of life of the poor. He said that the Government’s focus has been to ensure that all Indians have access to the basic needs of human beings. He said that the construction of more than 9 crore toilets, has ensured sanitation and a life of dignity for crores of poor people. He also mentioned the recently launched health assurance initiative – PMJAY – under Ayushman Bharat. He also spoke of the financial inclusion initiatives of the Union Government. He said that the law which provides relief to Muslim women from triple talaq, is also part of this series of steps taken to ensure basic rights for people.
The Prime Minister mentioned steps taken to improve ease of access to justice, such as increasing the number of e-courts, and strengthening of the National Judicial Data Grid. He described Aadhaar as a technology-based empowerment initiative.
In his address, the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the NHRC since its inception 25 years ago has achieved many milestones and secured a place for itself in the institutional framework of the country. He asserted that human rights have been ingrained in the traditional ethos of India. “In our country, we pray for the welfare of all, wish good for all and desire no harm for anyone. India is the first country in the world to have considered not only human rights but also took care of animal rights. Requirement for a Human Rights Charter was not felt because it is in the basic character of India.”
Rajnath Singh said, “I believe there is no place for inhuman actions in the name of strict action. But it is also my firm belief that actions taken in the national and societal interest should not be seen from the viewpoint of human rights violation.”
“On many occasions, some people express concern over the human rights of criminals/terrorists. I want to ask when such a criminal/terrorist not only violates the human rights of others but also takes away their right to live, in such a situation how we can raise the issue of human rights of such a criminal/terrorist,” he added.
The Union Home Minister said human rights should be seen in proper perspective. “Human rights means everyone has a right to dignified life. In this direction, our government has implemented many significant schemes for the benefit of crores of people and provided them food, housing, health and education for girl children,” he said.
Rajnath Singh said action against illegal immigrants into India should not be seen from the point of view of human rights. “There was no inhuman behaviour towards them. I am happy to note that the Supreme Court’s recent decision was in favour of deportation of seven Rohingyas,” he said. Union Home Minister said India is a secular state and human rights are not based on religion. He also emphasised on the importance of women’s safety.
In his welcome address, the NHRC Chairperson, HL Dattu said the phenomenal increase in the number of complaints received by the NHRC each year reflects the extent of its reach across the country. The NHRC Secretary General Ambuj Sharma also spoke on the occasion.
On the occasion a commemorative postal stamp and cover marking silver jubilee of the NHRC was released by the Prime Minister. He also launched the new version of the NHRC website.
The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Communications, Manoj Sinha was among the dignitaries present during the function. NHRC Members Shri Justice PC Ghose and Smt. Jyotika Kalra and former Chairpersons and Members besides senior officers of NHRC attended the function.