Do the rights thing, U.N. chief urges Indians

I urge Indians to be vigilant and to increase their investments in inclusive, pluralistic, diverse communities and societies, said Guterres.

Sanjay JogUpdated: Wednesday, October 19, 2022, 11:57 PM IST
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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres | File

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday that India is at a decisive moment in its history with an unprecedented opportunity to lead by example for resilience and advocate sustainable development, global financial reforms and climate justice.

At a function organised by the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, and the Observer Research Foundation, Guterres said, “I urge Indians to be vigilant to increase investment in an inclusive, diverse and plural society and community. The decisions you make today and the path you chart in the next 18 months could have global resonance.

“As an elected member of the Human Rights Council, India has a responsibility to shape global human rights and promote the rights of individuals, including minority communities,” he continued in a thinly veiled reference to India’s recent record.

“India’s voice on the global stage can only get authority and credibility from a strong commitment to inclusiveness and respect for human rights at home. The Indian model of plurality is based on a simple and profound understanding. Diversity is the richness that makes India stronger.”

That understanding is the birthright of every Indian, he said, but it is no guarantee. “It must be nurtured, strengthened and renewed every day,” Mr Guterres said.

This could be done by “practising the values of Mahatma Gandhi, securing and upholding the rights and dignity of all people, especially the most vulnerable, taking concrete action for inclusion, recognizing the enormous value and contributions of multicultural, multi-religious and multi-ethnic societies, and condemning hate speech unequivocally”, he said.

Guterres also stressed the need to protect 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,” he said.

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