Bhopal: A two-day International Conference on “Human Rights: Contemporary Issues and Challenges” organised by Jagran Lake University (JLU and World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) concluded here on October 3 by passing the “Bhopal Declaration 215”. It focuses on and recognises the importance of the role of the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations in the realization of Human Rights.
The resolution adopted unanimously in Bhopal says that all relevant bodies in India, and international organisations should be encouraged to collaborate more closely with each other at the grassroots level to promote and enhance the implementation of the central aims as promulgated under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, promote and move toward the measurable goal of a killing-free world by means open to infinite creativity in reverence for life.
Addressing the veledictory function as Chief guest, chairman of Maharashtra Human Rights Commission and former chief Justice of Karnataka High Court S.R. Bannurmath said “Unless powers are given to the Human Rights Commission to take action what is the point in having the Commission. He said that Human Rights Courts have been set up at the district level at many places, but unless there is a law to make them workable protection of human rights as guaranteed under the Human Rights Act, 1993 would be incomplete. He quoted from ancient Indian texts and highligthed the concept of “Vishwabandhutva” (universal brotherhood) and “Vasudevakutumbukam” (whole world is one family). Terrorism is the biggest enemy of human rights, he said and Concluded by underscoring Mahatma Gandhi’s message that humanity is being humane and not just being human.
The Acting Chairperson of Madhya Pradesh Human Rights Commission Virendra Mohan Kanwar said that the teachings of Gautam Buddha can bring peace.
On the opening day, Bonian Golmohammadi Secretary- General World Federatiom of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) asserted that “Vision with action can change the world”. Delivering the inaugural address he underscored the importance of engagement and empowerment of people for development of Human Rights. He also threw light on the 2030 agenda of UN on Sustainable Development Goal. He said, “the 2030 agenda, aims at the functional shift, a complete new way of looking at things and making changes in the world.” He also talked of India’s notable achievements on the development front but did not hold back in pointing out a lot still needs to be done. ” Vision with action can change the world”, asserted Gol mohammadi.
On October 3, the second and concluding day of the Conference Prof Dr. Shahid Amen, Prof. dr. suryaprakash Prof. Dr. V. G. Hedge, Prof. Dr. Complak, Prof. Dr. T. Veeravagu, Prof. S. Shantakumar, Prof. Ms. V. Rajyalakshmi and DR. Amar Kaur Singh were felicitated.
Day 1 (2 October, 2016)
In his key-note address, eminent jurist Padamshri, Prof. N. R. Madhava Menon, called for a transformative role by the law students for the sustainable and equitable development of society and protection of Human Rights. He gave the examples of Mahatma Gandhi who believed that the true practice of law is to bring opposing parties together and getting a win-win situation for all. He claimed, that constitution of India is well equipped with all kinds of rights but our political leaders ignored it. . “Right to equality is the greatest human right in itself”, he added.
JLU Vice Chancellor Anoop Swarup focused on the theme of the conference. He expressed gratitude towards Mahatma Gandhi, for his contribution towards achieving the goal of protecting of Human Rights. Quoting Rudyard Kipling, He said: “Man’s inhumanity to men, makes countless thousands bleed” and insisted that non-violence and non-killing are key to develop human rights.
Chairperson of the conference and Chancellor of JLU Harimohan Gupta emphasised the significance of the conference as a platform to discuss sociological and political imbalance between legislation and it’s execution. Legislation is completely politically motivated and not driven by human rights and hence there is inequality among different sections of the society, he said adding this conference provided an opening to budding lawyers to understand and analyze challenges linked to Human Rights and the changing global scenario.
Major issues like Refugee Crisis in Europe: Human Rights Perspective, A non-killing world, Victim Rights , Human practices for global justice were discussed in the Plenary Session. Eminent personalities including Jay Jethwa, Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria and High Court of Australia, Prof. (Dr.) G.S. Bajpai, Registrar, NLU, Delhi, Irene Martinetti, Director- Programs, WFUNA and others presented their views on issues of Human rights.
Ten technical sessions focused on different aspects and issues of human rights sessions chaired by eminent law personalities. Many distinguished academicians, research scholars, independent scholars and students present their research papers. These sessions were later followed by a question answer session and a colorful cultural event.
The participants were informed that JLU is planning to arrange related events in future to help in the growth of students and faculty members and serve as a medium to discuss and work for strengthening the society.
Dr. Yogendra Srivastava, Conference Convenor delivered the vote of thanks to the delegates from 4 continents, 7 countries, 36 different cities and 46 universities and institutes who participated in this conference.
Dean and Director, School of Law, JLU. Prof.(Dr.) C.A. Gurudath delivered the welcome address.
Speaking on economic environment and human rights Prof. Shaheed Amen said charity never enhances the growth of the individual whose interest can be served best by promoting entrepreneurship. We should create micro-entrepreneur ventures, he suggested and gave the example of American painters who create beautiful paintings but were being exploited by traders. He also said that there are lot of handicraft ventures in Oman but they need to be taught simple business tactics.
Prof Dr. Surya Prakash, speaking on the theme of working class and human rights, began by asking whether the labourers were getting adequate remuneration. The Constitution envisages in article 39 minimum wages, he said and went on to observe that representative organisations of trade and industry like FICCI and CII think that minimum wages are too high in India. In this context he was assertive in stating that the “motto should be economic justice”.
Prof Hegde said there are number of treaties on human rights and drew attention to the ASEAN decalaration on human rights, KAAYO deaclartion on human rights. In the context of the South, he said we have the problem of legal rights vs moral rights if we look at the asian concept there are so many rights like how to live in a community and the do’s and don’t’s. These are complex issues related to human rights. He concluded by stating that human rights are society specific, culture specific and are extremely sensitive and extremely specific
Prof Rajyalakshmi spoke on right to marriage and the right to marry in the global context. Posing the question whether marriage should be understood only in terms of heterosexual union. Why marriage between a man and a woman and why not between man and a man she observed in the context of the classical definition of marriage only as a hetero sexual union.
Prof. Complak gave a presentation on the topic understanding human dignity. He raised the question whether protection of human rights leads to dignity or vice versa?
Prof. Veervagu spoke on judiciary and human rights. He quoted Julias stone and said history of mankind has been shaped by the system of justice. No oe else but only a judge interprets the Constitution, he said and went on to ask Whether judges can be appointed as high commissioners or as chairmen of Government corporations.
Prof. Shantakumar asked the lawyers what they meant by Human rights offences. He also went on to ask whether or not it is a baliable offence a compoundable offence?
Supreme Court Lawyer Abhijit Bhattacharyya Bhattacharya spoke about the primacy and importance of the Indian Constitution and said that the young generation should be thorough with its contents and do everything to see that the Constitution is followed by everyone in letter and spirit. If this is done, human rights will be protected.
Prof. A. P. Singh stated that the entire concept of Human rights is not something that is straightjacket. Focusing on privacy rights he said that they are very important. Technology has always remained a deceptive process, he said and quoted the Google vs Brondale case taken up by the European court of justice.
The question raised in this case was against whom does one claim the right? the conclusion was that the state should protect the right to privacy.