Gap between rhetoric and reality must reduce: CJI
New Delhi, July 28 (UNI) Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan today expressed concern at the gap between the rhetoric and the reality while observing human rights standards and stressed that this gap could be filled by bringing together the strengths of the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.
Referring to the use of statistics and quantitative indicators for implementing human rights standards, the Chief Justice said that if identified appropriately, the indicators can help in concretising the normative content of human rights and facilitate enforcement.
He said international human rights standards embodied universal values of respect for human dignity and well-being. ''They not only provide the foundations of humane, just and progressive society but also a normative framework for the formulation of national and international policies and strategies for human development,'' he observed, while pointing out that each country or region may have its own recognised notions of what rights and freedoms are essential and their priorities.
He was speaking at an "Asian Sub-regional Workshop on Using Indicators to Promote and Monitor the Implementation of Human Rights" organised by the NHRC in collaboration with the Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Institute for Human Development.
Also speaking on the occasion, Justice S Rajendra Babu, Chairperson, NHRC, referred to the recent resolution adopted by UN Council for Human Rights(UNCHR) which endorsed inviting National Human Rights Institutions to participate in all agenda items besides becoming a first recourse for complaint remedy.
He said that with this, the importance and responsibility of NHRIs in protecting and promoting human rights had increased. He said there was a need to develop indicators and also to understand them in the right perspective and interpret them taking into account the economic and political context.
''No single set of indicators would be able to provide universally applicable information,'' he said, while cautioning that indicators were essentially tools to help policy makers to plan and evaluate their work and not an end in themselves.
The three-day workshop brought together human rights stakeholders namely National Human Rights Institutions, policy makers, national statistical agencies and some civil society representatives, primarily from South Asia. The countries that participated were Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines and Sri Lanka.
The participants shared their country's experience in the design, implementation and monitoring of policy framework and strategies to address issues like Right to Health - in terms of accessibility, availability and affordability- illustrating economic, social and cultural rights; analysis of criminal justice system - deaths in custody, encounter deaths, custodial violence, duration of undertrials in jails - illustrating civil and political rights; and poverty which prevents choice for livelihood, education, food security and access to health - as developmental issue.