President Pranab Mukherjee calls for introducing human rights in schools

Dec 10 2012, 20:26 IST
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Pranab Mukherjee. (Agencies) Pranab Mukherjee. (Agencies)
SummaryA human rights culture should infuse our national consciousness, he said.

Human rights should be introduced as a subject in school curriculum to increase awareness about it in the country, President Pranab Mukherjee said today.

"We must increase awareness for human rights by including it as a subject in school curriculum. A human rights culture should infuse our national consciousness," Mukherjee said at a function organised by the NHRC here on 'Human Rights Day'.

"We have an outstanding Constitution and a plethora of sound laws and policies to uphold different dimensions of human rights. However, such an elaborate legal infrastructure to manage human rights will count for nothing if implementation is lacking in form and spirit," he said.

The President said the focus should be on efforts to translate laws and Constitutional provisions into a reality for the common man.

On this day in 1948, the UN General Assembly had adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration has provided guidance to many countries in ensuring their laws are in tandem with the fundamentals of human rights, he said.

India's association with the international human rights movement runs deep as freedom fighter Dr Hansa Mehta represented the country on the UN Human Rights Commission which drafted the Declaration, Mukherjee said.

"Even before Independence, India was active at the international level in its advocacy of the promotion and protection of human rights," he said.

"The father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was widely recognised as among the foremost human rights activists of the world at the time the Universal Declaration was being drafted. Gandhi was therefore consulted on the elements that should go into the Universal Declaration," Mukherjee said.

The Universal Declaration also recognises that rights come along with duties, an idea strongly propounded by Mahatma Gandhi, he added.

The President said the Constitution too drew inspiration from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

"While framing the Constitution of our country, the founding fathers used the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a first draft for formulating the provisions of Part III of the Constitution on Fundamental Rights," he said.

There are many identical features between the fundamental rights in our Constitution and the Articles of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights like equality before law, non-discrimination on grounds of religion, race and sex, freedom of speech and expression, right to life and liberty and judicial remedy against violation of rights, he said.

"In our approach to development, we have built on the Directive Principles and adopted a rights-based approach to

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