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06 May 2017, 02:25 | Stacy Ballard
"We believe in peace, non-violence and upholding human dignity". India in its response explained to the gathering that death penalty is awarded only in the case of 'rarest of rare crimes.' Germany, Greece and Israel among other nations recommended that India ratify the global convention against torture in judicial custody. "As such, the concept of torture is completely alien to our culture and it has no place in the governance of the nation".
On the issue of rights of transgenders, Rohatgi, pointed to how India has been at the forefront of recognising their equal rights with the Supreme Court in a landmark judgement in 2014 directing the government to declare trans-genders a "third gender" and included them as an "Other Backward Class" entitled to affirmative action benefits.
Meanwhile, Pakistan highlighted the ongoing violence in Kashmir and demanded a ban on the use of pump action or pellet guns by Indian forces.
Calling the Indian claim of "enough safeguards against human right" in the Armed Forces Special Powers Act as "disappointing", Amnesty said that India is "ignoring the impunity that this law has enabled".
Apart from Pakistan raising questions about India's treatment of minority groups, Italy, Israel, and Japan urged India to abolish the death penalty and ratify the worldwide convention against torture that New Delhi had signed 19 years ago.
Group of countries such as Germany, Vatican, Kazakhstan, Kenya, UK, South Korea and the Netherlands were apprehensive on the issues of religious intolerance and rights of minorities. Since its first meeting was held in April 2008, all 193 United Nations member States have been reviewed twice within the first and second UPR cycles.
A number of countries raised the issue of women's rights, like including marital rape within the ambit of rape laws (Spain, Latvia, Namibia, Portugal, Slovenia, Ireland, Sweden, Zambia, Belgium and others), the issue of honour killings and forced sterilisations (Ghana, Iceland, Sweden and others), as well as repealing Section 377 (Israel, Iceland, Norway, Canada and others) that criminalises same sex relations. Attorney General of India, Mukul Rohatgi presented India's endeavours towards observance of human rights supported by rights-oriented constitutional framework, secular policy, independent judiciary and free and vibrant Media.
Attacks against Africans in India were also mentioned by some countries like Haiti, who called on India to take measures to address "Afrophobia". Not all acts of violence should be construed as racial attacks, India said, adding that it is the land of Gautam Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi and that "we can not have a racial mindset".
The Philippines' human rights record will be examined by the UN Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group for the third time on May 8, 2017. India had received 169 recommendations during the UPR held in 2012, based on which it presented the various steps and initiatives taken to fulfil and implement the recommendations, and the challenges faced in implementation. It is among 14 countries to be reviewed in the current cycle.
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