President of India inaugurated the annual general meeting and Biennial Conference of the Asia Pacific Forum on Human Rights in New Delhi celebrating the landmark 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR).
GS II: International Relations
Dimensions of the Article:
- President’s View on Human Rights:
- About the Asia Pacific Forum on Human Rights
- National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
President’s View on Human Rights:
- The President stressed the importance of tackling human rights concerns while safeguarding the environment.
- Expressing worry over the detrimental consequences of human actions on nature, the President underlined the need for responsible behavior.
- Emphasizing the moral obligation of the international community, the President underscored the duty to safeguard human rights, transcending legal frameworks.
- The President highlighted India’s commitment to universal adult franchise rights as enshrined in the Constitution, leading to gender justice and the protection of dignity.
- India’s willingness to learn from global best practices to enhance human rights was affirmed.
- The President urged against isolating human rights issues and advocated for equal prioritization of the preservation of the environment.
About the Asia Pacific Forum on Human Rights:
- Established in 1996.
- Brings together National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) from the Asia Pacific region.
- Aims to address significant human rights challenges in the region.
- Comprises 17 full members and eight associate members.
- Full membership is granted to NHRIs that fully comply with the international standards outlined in the Paris Principles.
- NHRIs that partially comply with the Paris Principles are granted associate membership.
- Promote the establishment of independent National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in the Asia Pacific region.
- Support member NHRIs in their effective functioning.
Functions and Services:
- Provides a comprehensive range of programs and services.
- Represents the collective voice of its members on regional and international human rights issues.
- Forms partnerships with various international agencies, governments, and non-government organizations.
- Collaborates with organizations like OHCHR, UNDP, UN Women, and UNFPA.
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
- The National Human Rights Commission is an Independent Statutory Body constituted on 12 October 1993, by the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.
- The NHRC is responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights.
- NHRC deals with the rights related to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by Indian Constitution or embodied in the international covenants and enforceable by courts in India.
- On an international level, the NHRC is established in conformity with the Paris Principles, adopted for the promotion and protection of human rights in Paris (October, 1991). It was also endorsed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 20 December, 1993.
Structure of NHRC
- A Chairperson, who has been a Chief Justice of India or a Judge of the Supreme Court
- One member who is, or has been, a Judge of the Supreme Court of India
- One member who is, or has been, the Chief Justice of a High Court
- Three Members, out of which at least one shall be a woman to be appointed from amongst persons having knowledge of, or practical experience in, matters relating to human rights
- In addition, the Chairpersons of National Commissions (Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Women , Minorities, Backward Classes, Protection of Child Rights) and Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities serve as ex officio members.
- The sitting Judge of the Supreme Court or sitting Chief Justice of any High Court can be appointed only after the consultation with the Chief Justice of Supreme Court.
How are the Chairperson and Members of NHRC appointed?
The Chairperson and members of the NHRC are appointed by the President of India, on the recommendation of a committee consisting of:
- The Prime Minister (Chairperson)
- The Home Minister
- The Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha (Lower House)
- The Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha (Upper House)
- The Speaker of the Lok Sabha (Lower House)
- The Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha (Upper House)
Powers conferred to the NHRC in inquiries
While inquiring into complaints under the Act, the Commission shall have all the powers of a civil court trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, and in particular the following, namely;
- Summoning and enforcing the attendance of witnesses and examining them on oath;
- Discovery and production of any document;
- Receiving evidence on affidavits;
- Requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office;
- Issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents;
- Any other matter which may be prescribed.