New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday asserted that rights and duties are two sides of the same coin, and added that equality is the ‘very soul’ of human rights.
“The preamble of our constitution stresses upon justice, liberty, equality and fraternity. The four words beautifully sum up the whole range of human rights. In India, as Mahatma Gandhi often reiterated, rights and duties are two sides of the same coin. Equality is the very soul of human rights, while non-discrimination is the first condition for absolute respect for human dignity,” Kovind said, while addressing the ‘Human Rights Day’ celebrations, organised by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), at Vigyan Bhawan here.
Observing that the world is beset with countless “prejudices”, the President said, ” They, unfortunately, hinder the full realisation of individuals’ potential, and thus are not in the interest of society as a whole. Human Rights Day is the ideal occasion for us to ponder collectively and find ways to overcome such prejudices that only hinder the progress of humanity.”
Mentioning the Covid pandemic, the President said, “Humanity is grappling with the worst pandemic in history. The pandemic is not yet over, and the virus seems to be one step ahead of humankind. It has disproportionately devastating impact on the vulnerable sections of society.
In this context, India, despite the obvious challenges, has been able to save millions of lives by adopting a policy of free and universal availability of vaccine. ”
He praised doctors, scientists and all other ‘corona warriors’ for their heroic efforts to uphold people’s right to life and right to health.
The NHRC has worked with other stakeholders including civil society, media and individual activists to strengthen human rights, he added.
On the occasion, the President said the world should also debate and discuss the ‘Right to a Healthy Environment and Climate Justice’ and added that degradation of nature is leading to irreversible changes in climate and we are witnessing its harmful impact.
“The world is waking up to the harsh reality, but it is yet to build the resolve to make decisive change. We owe it to our children that we save mother nature from the worst effects of industrialisation. The time is running out. India has taken initiatives at home as well as at the recently held ‘Global Climate Conference’, which would go a long way in restoring the health of the planet,” he said.
NHRC chairperson Justice Arun Mishra and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.
Human Rights Day is celebrated on December 10 every year to commemorate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). It was adopted and proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948. (UNI)