New Delhi: On September 20, 2023, the Hon’ble President of India, Droupadi Murmu, presided over the inauguration of the Annual General Meeting and Biennial Conference of the Asia Pacific Forum on Human Rights in New Delhi. During her address at this significant event, she conveyed profound insights and passionate appeals.President Murmu began by urging all present to not view the issue of human rights in isolation but to also prioritize the nurturing of Mother Nature, which has suffered greatly due to the indiscretions of humanity. She emphasized the Indian belief that every particle of the universe is a manifestation of divinity and called for a rekindling of our love for nature to conserve and enrich it before it’s too late.
Drawing attention to the dual nature of human beings as creators and destroyers, she cited scientific studies that have warned about the planet entering a phase of the sixth extinction, largely driven by man-made destruction. She underscored the urgent need to halt these destructive forces to safeguard not only the human race but all life on Earth. President Murmu stressed that beyond codified laws, it’s a moral obligation of the international community to ensure human rights in every sense.The President was pleased to note that one session of the Conference was exclusively dedicated to the critical topics of environment and climate change. She expressed confidence that this conference would yield a comprehensive declaration, paving the way for the betterment of humanity and the planet.Reflecting on India’s journey, President Murmu praised the country’s adoption of universal adult franchise since its inception as a Republic. She highlighted the silent revolutions that have ensued, particularly in the realms of gender justice and the protection of life and dignity. Notably, India’s commitment to a minimum of 33 percent reservation for women in local bodies’ elections and the proposal for similar reservation in state assemblies and the national Parliament promised a transformative revolution in gender justice.
President Murmu concluded by expressing India’s readiness to learn from best practices worldwide to continuously improve human rights, emphasizing that this is an ongoing project. She stressed the pivotal role of the Asia Pacific Region Forum in shaping international consensus through deliberations and consultations with human rights institutions and stakeholders worldwide.In summary, President Droupadi Murmu’s address at the Asia Pacific Forum on Human Rights emphasized the interconnectedness of human rights and environmental conservation. She called for collective action to protect both humanity and the planet, citing the moral responsibility of the international community. Her remarks also highlighted India’s commitment to gender justice and the country’s willingness to collaborate with global partners in advancing human rights.