President Droupadi Murmu on Saturday said that one must develop sensitivity towards fellow living beings, as it was the key to protection and promotion of rights for all.
Speaking during the inauguration of the 74th Human Rights Day celebrations, organised by the National Human Rights Commission at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi, the President said the world celebrates December 10 as the Human Rights Day every year, to mark the adoption of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 1948.
She said UDHR has been translated in more than 500 languages across the world, making it the most translated document in history.
The President mentioned social activist and reformer Hansa Mehta, who was the only Indian delegate to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 1947-48 and played an important role in drafting the UDHR.
Murmu said Hansa Mehta changed the phrase “All men are born free and equal” to “All human beings are born free and equal” in Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This was a minor correction, which had a major impact on the situation of women around the world.
Appreciating the initiatives taken by NHRC against child labour and for the promotion of rights of disabled people and those belonging to LGBTQ, the President said NHRC was making best possible efforts to spread awareness on protection and promotion of human rights. She then appealed to the Commission to look into the criminal justice system and also work for ensuring rights of undertrials.
She said the work done by India on promotion and protection of human rights has received international acceptance, including from the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI).
Stating that it was important to learn, rather re-learn, to treat Mother nature with dignity, the President said it was not only the moral duty of all citizens, but was necessary for survival of human beings too.
Speaking about the recent Uttarakhand High Court verdict, which declared the rivers Ganga and Yamuna as living entities, the President said why stop at rivers?
She said she wondered what the animals and trees would say, if they could speak. What would the rivers say about the human history and what would the cattle say on the topic of human rights?
“We have trampled on their rights for long, and the results are before us. Just as the concept of human rights exhorts us to consider every human being as no different from us, we should treat the whole living world and its habitat with respect,” added the President.