South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

Published in The Business Standard ::

Calling an attack on democracy and human rights,Wednesday highlighted the challenge of balancing the fight against terrorism with preserving human rights.

“An understanding of the linkage between countering terrorism and promoting human rights remains mired in suspicion and misunderstanding,” Mayank Joshi, a first secretary, at India’s UN Mission, said. “The challenge lies in striking the right balance between the imperatives of effectively tackling terrorism on the one hand, and fully observing international law and human rights standards, on the other.”

Speaking at a UN General Assembly committee that deals with social and humanitarian issues, Joshi said, “Terrorism challenges the very principle of freedom from fear and is one of the major threats to the full enjoyment of human rights. Terrorism is an attack on democracy, human dignity, human rights and development.”

Therefore, he said nations should take an unequivocal stand “to prevent and stop terrorism aimed at the destruction of human rights, fundamental freedoms and democracy, threaten territorial integrity and security of States and destabilising legitimately constituted governments.”

At the same time, Joshi praised the role of human rights activists and called for their protection. “Human Rights defenders play a key role in safeguarding democracy and ensure that it remains open, pluralistic, participatory, and in line with the principles of rule of law and good governance.”

For India, he said, “all law-abiding citizens are human rights defenders, and all citizens of India are equal before law and enjoy equal protection of law as guaranteed in our Constitution.”