December 16-31, 2009
“Discrimination lies at the root of many of the world’s most pressing human rights problems. No country is immune from this scourge.Eliminating discrimination is a duty of the highest order.” Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
“All human beings are born freeand equal in dignity and rights”.These
rst few famous wordsof the Universal Declaration ofHuman Rights established 60years ago the basic premiseof international human rightslaw. Yet today, the
ght againstdiscrimination remains a dailystruggle for millions around theglobe, especially in India.In a country where existenceand survival are the only goalsof an average citizen, no onehas the time or the inclinationto think about human rights.Human rights are being
outedevery day, every hour, everyminute and every second aroundour country in myriad ways byalmost everyone. However, theso-called intelligentsia wouldprefer to talk about the globalachievements a few Indians aremaking or how India has keptits head above waters duringthe global economic downturnor how we are on our way toachieving the 2020 vision. Thereare sexually abused, molestedor raped, children are abusedor forced into commercial sexor child labour, minor girls aremarried off to rich old men orsold off or married off with ahuge dowry. Kidneys are beingsold without the knowledgeof gullible people, consumersget a raw deal for purchase ofproducts of low quality, lonelysenior citizens are murderedfor money, many lives are lostdue to the callous attitudeand treatment by the medicalfraternity, several instances ofabuse of the public by the policeabound and countless cases lieunresolved in the courts… wellthe list is endless.is hesitation in most quartersto talk about the pathetic plightof a substantial population thatlives without any awareness orconsciousness about humanrights. Excepting a few lawyersand social activists and a fewodd mavericks like me, it istaboo to discuss the ills thataffect our country, because it isbelieved that we are selling outour country to the world.At the macro level, humanrights have taken a beatingin innumerable incidencesof crime. Everyday a child issubjected corporal punishmentby a teacher somewhere in thecountry or a woman is abusedby her husband or in-laws.Gender and caste inequalitiesare rampant, leading to clashesand skirmishes. There areinstances galore where women
RIGHT TO LIVE WITH DIGNITY?