Posts Tagged ‘UN’

And then there were five! With the arrival of Dmitry Medvedev in New Delhi for a two-day visit on 21st December, India has completed an impressive quintet. Russia’s president is the fifth and the final leader from the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to visit India in the past six months, following a path that has led to multi-billion dollar business deals and polished India’s sense of its rising global importance.

Russia was India’s military supplier of choice during the Cold War. Russian equipment accounts for 70% of all of India’s military hardware today. Imparting a new impetus to their ‘special and privileged’ ties, India and Russia inked 30 pacts in several key areas such as civil nuclear cooperation and defense, including development of Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) to expand country’s military capabilities.

The President arrived at New Delhi on early morning of the 21st and signed 11 agreements on that very day, including a deal through which ONGC, India’s state-owned energy company, will cooperate with Russia’s AFK Sistema in hydrocarbon development. Apart from this, 19 agreements, including those between private companies of both the countries were inked on the margins of the summit.

Medvedev met the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a two-hour long annual summit meeting which encompassed a whole range of crucial bilateral, regional and global matters. They also discussed the situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan which impacts on the security of both the countries. Besides deciding to enhance cooperation in crucial spheres of military, energy sector, science and technology, space research and pharmaceuticals, the two sides agreed to step up efforts to achieve the target of bilateral trade of USD 20 billion by 2015.
Medvedev met President Pratibha Patil at Rashtrapati Bhavan, and attended a banquet hosted in his honor. He also met Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

Apart from the major agreements between the two countries, MoUs were signed for joint research and development in reactor technology and related fields for peaceful uses of atomic energy. MoUs for cooperation in the pharmaceutical sector, for combating irregular migration and one in the field of emergency management were also signed.
On the second day of his visit, Medvedev accompanied by a 50-member delegation visited the Taj Mahal in Agra, where he spent around ninety minutes watching the 17th century historical monument. He also visited IIT Powai, where he interacted with the students at the institution’s newly constructed convention centre. Medvedev also managed to meet the Bollywood actors and directors at Yashraj Studio.

“Our talks have been comprehensive and result-oriented. We have signed several important agreements covering a large number of sectors. This reflects our mutual desire to bring our cooperation in other areas at par with our traditionally strong cooperation in the defense and nuclear fields,” Manmohan Singh said at a joint press interaction with Medvedev. The leaders also discussed the construction of additional Russian designed nuclear reactors at Kudankulam, Tamil Nadu, where two units are ready to be commissioned. Recalling their Moscow declaration on International Terrorism of 2001, the two leaders agreed that there is no justification whatsoever for any act of terrorism.

On his part, Medvedev said Russia supports India as a “deserving and strong candidate” for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council as and when a decision for its expansion is taken. During the talks, Medvedev also extended an invitation to Singh to visit Russia next year which was accepted by the Prime Minister.

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In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed by the General Assembly of United Nations. Thereafter in 1950, the UN called on all member States and organizations around the globe to commemorate World Human Rights Day on 10th December every year. The United Nations defines human rights as inter-related, inter-dependent and indivisible rights inherent to all human beings without discrimination of any nationality, ethnic origin, sex, religion, language, or caste and creed or any other status.

The UNHCR (United Nations Human Rights Commission) issues themes for the Day each year, and invites countries to integrate the broad themes into their country’s celebration of the day. The 2010 theme is “Human rights defenders who act to end discrimination”. Accordingly, this year the observance of the day will highlight and promote the achievements of human rights defenders and it will again emphasize the primary responsibility of the Governments to enable and protect their role. It has also been articulated by UN that it will strive to inspire a new generation of human rights defenders to speak up and take action to end discrimination in all of its forms whenever and wherever it is manifested.

“This Human Rights Day is an occasion to salute the courage and achievements of human rights defenders everywhere—and to pledge to do more to safeguard their work,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a statement posted on the UN website. Every citizen, as well as groups and organizations have the right to nominate an individual, a group or organization for the award until April 30 of each year.

India, like many other countries, celebrates the Human Rights Day each year with great fervor. The state of human rights in India has improved markedly since independence. This fact stays proven as Dr Lenin Raghuvanshi, a well-known human rights activist from India, was presented with the ‘2010 Human Rights Award of the city of Weimar’ in Germany. Weimer city’s municipal council has acknowledged Dr Raghuvanshi, founder of People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), in his efforts for observation and assertion of fundamental rights of disadvantaged sections of society, such as women, children, dalits and indigenous minorities. The Friedrich Nauman Foundation for Liberty nominated Dr Raghuvanshi for the award. Another successful initiative by Dr Raghuvanshi is his conceptual design of ‘people-friendly villages’.
Another achievement for India this year was when The Rescue Foundation, a Mumbai based NGO that frees teenage girls from forced prostitution was presented with the 2010 Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award in Taipei. Taiwanese President, Ma Ying-Jeou awarded the prize to the group’s president, Triveni Balkrishna Acharya. The NGO frees about 300 girls each year, all victims of trafficking and prostitution. It also provides HIV tests and treatment, job training and emotional support to the rescued women. The Rescue Foundation is the fifth recipient of the annual award given by the not for profit, Taiwan Foundation for Democracy. The award comes with a cash grant of $100,000.

This Human Rights Day is celebrated on March 21 in South Africa, to mark The Sharpeville Massacre, when South African police opened fire on a crowd of black protesters, killing 69 people.

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