On September 20, 2023, Smt. Droupadi Murmu, the President of India, officially opened the Asia Pacific Forum on Human Rights’ annual general meeting and biennial conference in New Delhi.
Speaking on the occasion, the President urged all not to treat the issue of human rights in isolation and pay equal attention to nursing Mother Nature which is deeply wounded by the indiscretions of human beings. She said that in India, we believe that every particle of the universe is a manifestation of divinity. She said that we should rekindle our love for nature to conserve and enrich it before it is too late.
The President said that human beings are as good a creator as a destroyer. She added that according to scientific studies, this planet has entered the phase of sixth extinction where man-made destruction, if not stopped, will be the undoing of not only the human race but also the other lives on the earth. The President said that more than the codified law, it is a moral obligation of the international community to ensure human rights in every sense of the term.
The President was happy to note that one session in the Conference is exclusively devoted to the topic of environment and climate change. She expressed confidence that the Conference would come out with a comprehensive declaration that would pave the way for betterment of humanity and the planet.
The President said that our Constitution adopted universal adult franchise rights, since the inception of the Republic, and enabled us to usher in numerous silent revolutions, in the field of gender justice, and protection of life and dignity. She added that we ensured a minimum of 33 percent reservation for women in local bodies’ elections and in a pleasant co-incidence, a proposal to provide similar reservation for women in the state assemblies and national Parliament, is taking shape now. She shared that it would be the most transformative revolution in our times for gender justice.
The President said that India is ready to learn from the best practices in other parts of the world to improve human rights which is an ongoing project. She emphasized that the Asia Pacific Region Forum has a great role to play in evolving an international consensus through deliberation and consultation with human rights institutions and stakeholders all over the world.
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