Crimes against women make society rethink vision of equality: Pres Kovind on Human Rights Day

New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind has said that effective strengthening of human rights at the ground level is the collective task of society as a whole. The President was speaking at the Human Rights Day Function organised by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in New Delhi today, where he said the NHRC has done well in spreading awareness and joining hands with civil society to further the cause of human rights.

Pointing out the contribution of Hansaben Mehta in the field of human rights and gender equality, the President said that we need to ask ourselves if we, as a society, have lived up to her vision of equal rights and equal dignity of women.

Kovind said that unfortunately, a series of events in the recent past forces us to think again as incidents of heinous crime against women were reported from many parts of the country, and that this is not limited to one place or one nation.

In many parts of the world, human rights of those who are vulnerable are flagrantly violated, said Kovind, adding that the ideal way to commemorate the World Human Rights Day is for the whole world to introspect what more we need to do to live up to the letter and spirit of the sacred text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he stated.

The President said that along with such introspection, the task of reinterpreting the document and expanding the notion of human rights should be undertaken, adding that all we need is empathy and imagination.

Kovind gave the example of children, forced labourers and those put in jails while they await trial for a petty crime they might not have even committed, and stated that these issues deserve urgent attention to make a harmonious society compliant of the Human Rights Charter.

The President said that this introspection is essential but our understanding of the situation would be incomplete if we ignore the other side of the issue, which are duties.

Kovind recalled that Mahatma Gandhi saw rights and duties as two sides of the same coin, adding that our failings in human rights, as in the cases of violence against women, often stem from our failings in the other.

Our national discourse has rightly focused on the all-important question of human rights but it should make more space for consideration of our Fundamental Duties too, he concluded.

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The ID Staff

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