India on Thursday defended its human rights record, saying such a huge country might be facing some problems, but it has the “ability to self correct” and redressal mechanisms are in place.
This was stated by Attorney General GE Vahanvati in his presentation on India’s National Report for the Second Universal Periodic Review 2012 at the 47 member Human Rights Council in Geneva. The Review covers human rights records of all the 192 member states once every four years. India's record was last reviewed in 2008.
“The challenges we face are by no means small. There are threats to the fabric of our country. Our country has been the target of terrorist activities over the last three decades,” Vahanvati said.
Responding to concerns regarding the controversial Armed Forces Special Protection Act (AFSPA),
the Attorney General said, “This Act has been upheld as constitutional by our Supreme Court. Several checks and balances have been introduced … Violations are dealt with swiftly and transparently.”
On religious tolerance and understanding, and the strength of country’s secular constitution he stated: “India has welcomed all religious denominations, minorities and refugees, including the Jewish community and the Zorastrians/Parsis or more recently, refugees from Tibet, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and other countries".
He emphasised that India's practices on refugees are “far more developed, caring and humane than the current international regime can provide for.”