CURTAIN RAISER: HUMAN RIGHTS DAY, 2016 (07.12.2016)



New Delhi, 7th December, 2016


Human Rights Day is celebrated on the 10th December every year to commemorate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which was adopted and proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948 as the shared standard yard stick to protect human rights across the globe. The Declaration recognizes that the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of mankind are the foundation of justice, freedom and peace in the world. It reaffirms the faith of the people of United Nations in the fundamental human rights.

The slogan of this year's Human Rights Day - 'Stand up for someone's rights today' aims to re-emphasise how important it is to live in peace and harmony, compassion and concern for each other's rights with respect towards the idea of mutual co-existence.

The National Human Rights Commission, India has organised a series of events in run up to the celebration of Human Rights Day culminating into a function in New Delhi on the 10th December, 2016.

Mr. Justice P. Sathasivam, Governor of Kerala and former Chief Justice of India and Mr. Bezwada Wilson, National Convener of the Safai Karamchari Andolan and recipient of Magsaysay award will address the gathering as the Chief Guest and as the Guest of Honour respectively. Mr. Justice H. L. Dattu, Chairperson, NHRC and former Chief Justice of India will also address the gathering.

Besides the release of some NHRC publications on the occasion, prizes of Rs.1 lakh, Rs.75 thousand and Rs.50 thousand will be given for the three best short films on human rights, selected by an eminent jury. Some short films will also be screened on that day.

The paintings by children on different themes of human rights will be displayed at an exhibition at the venue of the function, which will also be showcasing the journey of the Commission through photographs of its various events and activities towards protection and promotion of human rights since the last Human Rights Day.

During the last 23 years, since its inception on the 12th October, 1993, the Commission has endeavoured to promote a culture of human rights. The NHRC, like most of the human rights institutions in the world, is a recommendatory body as per the Protection of Human Rights Act passed by Parliament. But this provision has not come in the way of most of the recommendations of the Commission being accepted by the Governments resulting in the trust and confidence of the people in it. This reflects in the increasing number of complaints it has been receiving every year.

Apart from looking into the complaints of the human rights violations, the Commission's functions also include reviewing safeguards provided under the Constitution or any Law, make recommendations for effective implementation of International Conventions/Covenants, undertake research and organise seminars and discussion programmes on human rights issues, spread awareness about human rights and encourage efforts of non-governmental organisations towards promotion of human rights.

It has also been organising Camp Sittings for disposal of pending cases and Open Hearings of complaints of atrocities against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in different parts of the country for redressal of their problems. It has also been visiting, State-wise, different districts to make an assessment of enforcement of various measures related to human rights and implementation of welfare schemes so as to come out with recommendations for the governments', committed to ensuring good governance.

It has made a number of interventions on key issues of human rights, which include, among others, issues of bonded and child labour, prison reforms, right to health, mental healthcare, rights of persons with disability, silicosis, illegal clinical drug trials, pesticides in food items, pricing of drugs, corporate-social responsibility, manual scavenging and sanitation, human rights of women.

In order to spread awareness about human rights and its activities, the Commission, apart from publication of monthly Newsletter in Hindi and English, has published more than 80 books and journals. Apart from the Centre and the State Governments, several organisations, NGOs of Human Rights Defenders and media have actively supported and supplemented the work of the NHRC towards promotion and protection of human rights.

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