Watch: India's Strong Response to UN Rights Chief After Comment on Electoral Process of Largest Democracy

1 month ago

Last Updated: March 04, 2024, 20:28 IST

Geneva, Switzerland

India’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador said Delhi has noted comments by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk about the country’s forthcoming general elections. (File Image)

India’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador said Delhi has noted comments by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk about the country’s forthcoming general elections. (File Image)

India dismisses UN human rights concerns over its electoral process, highlighting its democracy's strength and global admiration for its electoral system

India dismissed the “concerns” raised by the UN’s Human Rights Council over its electoral process on Monday, labeling them as “unwarranted” and saying they do not reflect the reality of the world’s largest democracy.

During the 55th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, the top UN rights official voiced concern over “increasing restrictions” on the civic space. India’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Arindam Bagchi said Delhi has noted comments by High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk about the country’s upcoming general elections.

“However, his concerns in this regard are unwarranted and do not reflect the reality of the largest democracy in the world,” Bagchi said. He underlined that in any democracy, “argumentation is natural. It is imperative that those in positions of authority do not allow their judgment to be clouded by propaganda.”

‘World seeks to learn’

The Indian envoy added that India’s electoral process has been characterised by a high degree of people’s participation and full faith in the electoral mandate by all. “In fact, we are privileged that many across the world seek to learn from our experience and aspire to emulate it,” he said.

“We have no doubt that as in numerous occasions in the past, the Indian people will freely exercise their vote to choose a government that they believe can best give voice and flight to their aspirations,” Bagchi said. In his global update, Turk said that in India, with an electorate of 960 million people, the coming election will be unique in scale. ”I appreciate the country’s secular and democratic traditions and its great diversity,” he said.

India will head to the polls for the 2024 general elections, expected to be held between April and May. In that context, Turk stressed that it is particularly important in a pre-electoral context to ensure an open space that respects the meaningful participation of everyone. He also welcomed the Indian Supreme Court’s decision last month on campaign finance schemes, upholding the right to information and transparency. The Supreme Court had ruled that electoral bonds violate citizens’ right to access information held by the government and thus struck down the seven-year-old scheme.

1/6 of humanity

The top Indian diplomat in Geneva said that plurality, diversity, inclusivity and openness are at the core of India’s democratic polity and its constitutional values. “These are backed by fiercely independent institutions, including a robust judiciary, that aims to protect the rights of all.” He said that India, as home to 1/6 of humanity, has led from the front with an enduring dedication to the promotion and protection of human rights for all. ”In this endeavour, our approach has been guided by our civilisation ethos that views the world as one family.”

He noted that more recently, this commitment was manifest in India’s response to the pandemic by assisting its friends and partners across the world, India’s disaster relief efforts and support during crises in various countries, the development initiatives across the world and India’s G20 presidency last year, “where we voiced particularly the concerns of the Global South.

“Today when the world is riddled with conflicts and war, India has been a voice of reason consistently calling for dialogue and diplomacy. It is only when peace is given a chance that the most vulnerable can hope for a better future, where their basic needs are met, and their human rights are protected.” Bagchi said that it is in this spirit that India welcomes the “renewed focus on issues affecting us all, such as reform of the multilateral governance structures, including international financial architecture, enhancing technical assistance and capacity building, sustainable development and the need for peace.”

(With agency inputs)

Rohit

Rohit is sub-editor at News18.com and covers international news. He previously worked with Asian News (ANI). He is interested in world a

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