NHRC focuses on protecting rights of human rights defenders
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Last Updated: Friday, December 10, 2010, 22:06
  
New Delhi: NHRC chairman K G Balaksrishan on Friday said human rights defenders should not only focus on protection of civil and political rights of the people but also on their economic and social rights, especially in backward areas.

"UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders Margaret Sekaggya is visiting India in January, 2011 and the Commission will utilise this opportunity to interact with her on the issue of protection of human rights defenders," he said adding that it was NHRC which had requested External Affairs Ministry to invite her.

"However, human rights defenders should not only focus attention on civil and political rights but also on economic and social rights, especially in backward areas," he added.

He was addressing a function organised by the NHRC here to observe Human Rights Day. The theme of the event, which was also attended by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, was 'Human Rights Defenders'.

Balakrishnan, the former Chief Justice of India, noted that defenders of human rights often face "great personal risk, to both themselves and their families" and said it is the duty of everyone to protect their rights too.

He said that NHRC is concerned about the rights of the human rights defenders in India.

"The commission has set up a 'Focal Point', which may be accessed by human rights defenders anytime. It facilitates speedy action on their complaints. They can access Focal Point through phone, fax and e-mail," he said.

Referring to a workshop organised by the commission last year on human rights defenders, he said that the event came out with a number of recommendations for their protection "which are being acted upon".

Underlining the commission's experience in furtherance of its task of protecting human rights in the country, Balakrishnan said it has been realised that failures in the "sphere of human rights" in economic, social and cultural areas are widespread and their denials have often driven citizens to the margins of human existence.

"The struggle for the promotion and protection of human rights thus, inevitably, requires the elimination of aberrations which, over time, fragment society leaving some more equal than others," he said.

The NHRC chief noted that the Commission's role is that of a catalyst and facilitator in securing "responsive and humane governance", saying that it has worked relentlessly to fulfil this responsibility.

"The commission has witnessed a phenomenal increase in the number of complaints received over the years. This year it has gone up to about 78,500, indicating not only a growing awareness among the people but also the increased faith that they have reposed in the commission for safeguarding their rights," he said.

PTI


First Published: Friday, December 10, 2010, 22:06


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