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India 'proud' to endorse US initiative on joint statement on Universal Declaration of Human Rights

India on Wednesday said it is "proud" to endorse the US initiative on a joint statement on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that recognises the many differences in national traditions and yet reaffirms fundamental freedoms and rights for all.

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 24-09-2020 00:26 IST | Created: 23-09-2020 23:59 IST
India 'proud' to endorse US initiative on joint statement on Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Representative image. Image Credit: Pixabay

India on Wednesday said it is "proud" to endorse the US initiative on a joint statement on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that recognises the many differences in national traditions and yet reaffirms fundamental freedoms and rights for all. A joint statement, issued by the US, on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) said, "On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, We, the above listed signatories of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, established and adopted in 1948, recommit ourselves today to the Declaration and its foundational ideal that certain principles are so fundamental as to apply to all human beings, everywhere, at all times." "India is proud to endorse the US initiative on the Joint Statement on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," India's Permanent Mission to the UN tweeted. Other nations joining the US on the statement include Bahrain, Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Maldives, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

"We recognise the many differences in our cultural, political, legal, religious, and other traditions, yet reaffirm fundamental freedoms and rights for all, and reassert our commitment to honouring the dignity of all persons that is the basis for our commitments under the UDHR," the joint statement said. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a "milestone document" in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in Paris in December 1948 as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It set out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected.

The contribution of Indian reformer and educator Hansa Jivraj Mehta in ensuring a more gender sensitive language in the landmark Universal Declaration of Human Rights is widely lauded. But for Mehta's insistence, it could very well have been that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights may have been only the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man. Mehta had served as the Indian delegate to the UN Commission on Human Rights from 1947 to 1948. She is widely credited with making a significant change in the language of Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by replacing the phrase "All men are born free and equal" to "All human beings are born free and equal".

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a video message that "we must defend unalienable rights today, because the International Human Rights Project is in crisis. Authoritarian governments from China to Iran to Venezuela are depriving our fellow human beings of their basic rights. He added that many multinational organisations have lost their way, focusing on partisan policy preferences while failing to defend fundamental rights. "Even many well intentioned people assert new and novel rights that often conflict. To uphold universal human rights we should look to the framers of the UDHR, who identified a clear set of principles that apply to all people everywhere, and at all times. They stood unwaveringly in defense of the dignity of every human being."


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