UN chief Guterres also said India can “make or break” the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres today criticized India over its human rights record during a three-day visit.
Since PM Modi came to power in 2014, campaigners claim persecution and hate speech have allegedly accelerated against religious minorities.
Pressure has also grown towards government critics and journalists, particularly women reporters – some have suffered relentless campaigns of online abuse including death and rape threats, reported news agency AFP.
“As an elected member of the Human Rights Council, India has a responsibility to shape global human rights, and to protect and promote the rights of all individuals, including members of minority communities,” Mr Guterres said in a speech in Mumbai.
Though he praised India’s achievements 75 years after leaving British rule, Mr Guterres also said that the understanding that “diversity is a richness… is not a guarantee”.
“It must be nurtured, strengthened and renewed everyday,” he said.
Citing Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, Mr Guterres said their values need to be guarded by “condemning hate speech unequivocally”.
India must do this “by protecting the rights and freedoms of journalists, human rights activists, students and academics. And by ensuring the continued independence of India’s judiciary”, he said.
“India’s voice on the global stage can only gain in authority and credibility from a strong commitment to inclusivity and respect for human rights at home,” he said, adding that “much more needs to be done to advance gender equality and women’s rights”.
“I urge Indians to be vigilant and to increase your investments in inclusive, pluralistic, diverse communities and societies,” Mr Guterres said.
An official response from the Government of India is awaited.
On climate change, Mr Guterres echoed New Delhi’s assertion that advanced economies must take the lead in cutting carbon emissions and provide money to countries like India to develop renewable energies.
But the UN chief also said nations like India need to “take an extra step to close the mitigation gap”, referring to efforts to reduce or prevent the emission of greenhouse gases.
While setting goals for renewable energy, coal still makes up 70 percent of India’s energy needs. India and China had, in the final summit declaration at last year’s COP26, insisted that the language was changed from “phase out” coal to “phase down”.
Mr Guterres also said that as home to one-sixth of humanity India can “make or break” the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Some of the most fundamentals of these have “gone into reverse” due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the cost of living crisis “accelerated by the war in Ukraine”, he said.
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(This story has not been created/edited by Unicaus and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)