New Delhi, Dec 10: Emphasising the importance of 'Right to Development' as a basic human right for people across the globe, President Pratibha Patil today called for a greater space for development issues on the global agenda, focus on the needs of the developing countries and a greater voice for such countries in UN, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Speaking on the Human Rights Day function organised by the National Human Rights Commission here, Ms Patil also called upon the government to take into account the new obligations in the UN Convention while amending the Persons with Disability Act of 1995.
''I understand that the government is in the process of updating legislation in consultation with stakeholders throughout the country,'' she admitted.
She expressed foremost concern about people living in poverty which she called the biggest violator of human rights. ''Persistence of poverty renders realisation of human rights rather illusory.'' It deprived the poor of human rights and basic entitlements like nutrition, shelter, education, health, safe drinking water and other elements of dignified living, she said, adding that eradicating poverty should be the foremost endeavour so as to impart to the poor skills to find a decent livelihood. Calling for the protection of women's human rights, Ms Patil said, ''A sustained effort to empower women is essential to deliver on our commitment to ensure equality with respect to political, economic and social rights.'' She also called for improved law enforcement and enforcing accountability for those who committed violence and atrocities against women.
The President also emphasised the need to seriously introspect the status of human rights, including human dignity, right to food, healthcare, education and shelter, besides their mechanisms and effectiveness in their implementation.
Ms Patil particularly stressed upon human dignity as the backbone of human rights, saying that the Constitution proclaimed 'the dignity of the individual' as a core value in its Preamble. The development process in the country should be equitable and there should be a wider spread of the fruits of development. Disparities should be removed to ensure that the needs of everyone are met, she asserted.