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Ensure ‘full respect’ for sovereign equality: India

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New York: India has underscored the need to ensure “full respect” for the sovereign equality, territorial integrity and political independence of all UN member-states and cautioned against “misinformation” about human rights situations across nations.
“India remains firmly committed to the idea of a just and equitable society through upholding the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Asoke Mukerji said here on Monday during a UN General Assembly session on ‘Report of the Human Rights Council.’

He said human rights is recognised as one of the three pillars of the UN system along with development and peace and security.

“Without a secure and peaceful environment, universal adherence to human rights standards will remain an elusive goal,” he said.

“While we strive to identify more cooperative methods for strengthening the normative framework for human rights within the UN system, it is imperative that we ensure full respect for the sovereign equality, territorial integrity, and political independence of all UN member-states,” he said, adding that specific situations and contexts of each member state must be kept in mind.

India last month overwhelmingly won its re-election to the UN Human Rights Council for the period of 2015-17.

India’s current term at the 47-nation human rights body was due to end on December 31, 2014. It received 162 votes, the highest number in the Asia-Pacific group.

Mukerji also added that serious attention needs to be paid on how information related to human rights situations is analysed and reported, saying that in the age of modern technology like the internet “ones needs to be mindful of the damaging power of misinformation.”

He said focus should be on advocacy and consensus building through promotion of better understanding of human rights issues amongst member states and all stake holders.

“This is obviously an arduous task that requires investment both in terms of time and resources,” he added.

Mukerji also stressed that the Council must continue to perform its role in constructive international dialogue and cooperation in solving international problems within a framework of friendly relations amongst states.

He said it is of fundamental importance that mandate holders remain truly independent, impartial and carry out their tasks with responsibility and sensitivity in accordance with their mandates.

He said their recommendations should be specific, constructive and be relevant to the country and not ideologically driven in order to enable governments to take cognizance of their reports and take any follow-up actions.

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