India’s voice on the global stage can only gain in authority and credibility from a strong commitment to inclusivity and respect for human rights at home, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday.
Addressing students of the IIT Bombay here, Guterres said, As an elected member of the Human Rights Council, India has a responsibility to shape global human rights, and to protect and promote the rights of all individuals, including members of minority communities. The Indian model of plurality is based on a simple but profound understanding: diversity is a richness that makes your country stronger.
That understanding is the birth right of every Indian, but it is not a guarantee. It must be nurtured, strengthened and renewed every day, Guterres said.
This could be done by practicing the values of Mahatma Gandhi, by securing and upholding the rights and dignity of all people, especially the most vulnerable, by taking concrete action for inclusion, recognizing the enormous value and contributions of multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-ethnic societies, and by condemning hate speech unequivocally, he said.
Guterres also stressed the need for protecting the rights and freedoms of journalists, human rights activists, students and academics, and by ensuring the continued independence of India’s judiciary.
“This is the India that the world has celebrated. I urge Indians to be vigilant and to increase your investments in inclusive, pluralistic, diverse communities and societies.
In India, as across the world, much more needs to be done to advance gender equality and women’s rights. This is a moral imperative, and it is also a multiplier for prosperity and sustainability. No society can reach its full potential without equal rights and freedoms for women, men, girls and boys, he said.