India and the United Nations, its reforms and its role in a globalized world

  • India, led by Sir A. Ramaswami Mudaliar to the San Francisco Conference in 1945, is one of the founding Members of the UN, having signed the Washington Declaration on 1st January, 1942 and having also participated at the San Francisco Conference from 25th April to 26th June, 1945. Under colonial rule at that time, Indian leadership even before Independence emphasised India’s commitment to the purposes and principles of the UN and underlined India’s determination to contribute to international peace and security, including and particularly in the field of peace keeping.

  • India is an original signatory and strong supporter of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights on 10 December 1948 which when adopted by General Assembly established “a common standard of achievement for all peoples and nations”. It is important to underline that the Universal Declaration was adopted by vote. Three countries voted against: apartheid South Africa, Stalinist USSR and Saudi Arabia! This was followed by the adoption on 16th December, 1966 of the two International Covenants on Economic, Social and Cultural rights and Civil and Political rights respectively, the international community established a set of universal human rights law, based on international standards, which complemented and strengthened the UN Charter. As a newly independent Member State of the United Nations India had participated in the negotiations under the chairmanship of Eleanor Roosevelt, the first Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights that drafted the Declaration. Rajkumari Amarjeet Kaur was India’s representative at the London Conference. Later, India’s Constituent Assembly which drafted our Constitution and our political leadership ensured that India’s Constitution would contain the basic elements of the Universal Declaration, reaffirming our firm commitment to uphold the basic principles of the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration. These include:Justice, social, economic and political;
    Liberty of thought, expression, faith, belief and worship;
    Equality of status and of opportunity, and to promote among them all Fraternity, assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity of the Nation.

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Amit Singh

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