In wake of the cross-border terror attack from Pakistan on an Indian army base in Jammu and Kashmir that left 18 Indian soldiers dead, India on Tuesday used the biggest international forum to say that terrorism was the biggest threat to human rights.
“Mr. President, I do want to stress that terrorism is the biggest danger to human rights,” minister of state for external affairs MJ Akbar said in his address in the Summit for Refugees and Migrants during the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly.
His comments came even as Pakistan has been raising the issue of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani that triggered large-scale violence leaving over 80 people dead.
“Terrorism is an existential threat. Hypocrisy towards this crisis will not do.
“There is no good terrorism or bad terrorism and if we do not know answer to this question, all you have to do is to ask the refugees if he considers any terrorism to be good or bad.”
Akbar said that large movements of people across borders serve as reminders that the world has become a global village.
“We can only prosper or perish together. It is best that we learn to live in peace, prosperity and amity,” he stressed.
Akbar pointed out that the number of people on the move globally was estimated at close to 250 million or one in every 30 persons.
“Refugees are currently estimated to be around 20 million - one of every 12 persons on the move.
“Three-fourths of the refugees come from just 11 countries. Seven countries host more than half of all refugees. Almost 90 percent of all refugees are hosted in emerging countries!” said Akbar, and also highlighted India’s role in hosting refugees.
“There is a long history of large communities seeking refuge in India. Are we prepared?” he said.
“I recall vividly the time when our neighbour Bangladesh was fighting for independence, more than 1.2 million people took refuge in India from the genocide they were faced with,” he said.
“We have long experience of this and we have developed situation-specific responses in each such instance.
“People seeking shelter in our country have never been turned back. Our record in this context is actually unique,” he said.
At the same time, he put up a poser.
“It is assumed that only host nations do not want refugees, I ask, do refugees also want to become refugees.
“They don’t. We must understand this and underline it and therefore find out what drives them towards seeking refuge. Prevention is better than cure, or perhaps prevention is the only cure,” he said.