In a momentous event that underscores India’s dedication to both human rights and environmental conservation, President Droupadi Murmu inaugurated the Annual General Meeting and Biennial Conference of the Asia Pacific Forum on Human Rights in New Delhi on 20 September 2023.
Addressing the gathering, President Murmu delivered a profound message urging attendees not to view human rights in isolation but to recognize the imperative need to nurture Mother Nature. She lamented that the world’s natural landscapes bear deep wounds inflicted by human indiscretions. In line with Indian philosophy, she emphasized that every element of the universe is a manifestation of divinity, calling upon humanity to rekindle its love for nature before it’s too late.
President Murmu articulated a sobering truth – that human beings are both creators and destroyers. Citing scientific studies, she noted that the planet has entered the alarming phase of a sixth extinction, where unchecked human-made destruction threatens not only the human race but also all life on Earth. She stressed that beyond codified laws, it is the moral obligation of the international community to safeguard human rights in the broadest sense.
The President expressed her satisfaction that the conference had dedicated a session exclusively to the crucial topics of environment and climate change. She expressed confidence that the conference would culminate in a comprehensive declaration that could pave the way for the betterment of humanity and the planet.
“Reflecting on India’s progressive stance on gender justice and human rights, President Murmu highlighted the nation’s historic adoption of a universal adult franchise. She noted that this move had catalyzed silent revolutions in areas such as gender justice and the protection of life and dignity”. Furthermore, she applauded the commitment to reserving a minimum of 33 percent of seats for women in local body elections and the promising proposal for similar reservation in state assemblies and the national Parliament, considering it a transformative step for gender justice.
The President reiterated India’s readiness to learn from global best practices to continually improve human rights standards. She emphasized the pivotal role of the Asia Pacific Region Forum in building international consensus through deliberation and consultation with human rights institutions and stakeholders worldwide.
“Inaugurating the conference with a profound and holistic vision, President Droupadi Murmu affirmed India’s commitment to addressing not only the rights of humanity but also the welfare of the planet, setting the stage for meaningful dialogue and collaborative action in the pursuit of a better world for all”.