New Delhi, Dec 10 : President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday said India has been able to save millions of lives by adopting a policy of free and universal availability of COVID-19 vaccine.
Addressing a Human Rights Day event organised by the National Human Rights Commission, Kovind said the humanity is grappling with the worst pandemic in history.
“While the pandemic is not yet over, and the virus seems to be one step ahead of humankind, the world has so far responded to it by placing our trust in science and in global partnership,” he said.
He said that though the pandemic affects the humanity universally, it is also seen that it has disproportionately devastating impact on the vulnerable sections of society.
“In this context, India, despite the obvious challenges, has been able to save millions of lives by adopting a policy of free and universal availability of vaccine. With the biggest vaccination exercise in history, the government has also been able to provide protection against the virus to nearly a billion people,” he added.
He praised doctors, scientists and all other “corona warriors” for their heroic efforts to uphold people’s right to life and right to health.
The president said that in this battle with this invisible enemy, there have been multiple setbacks.
“During some of the more difficult times, institutions of the government tried their best to respond to a situation for which no amount of preparation could have been sufficient,” he said.
He noted that the National Human Rights Commission, “with its deep concern for the rights of the vulnerable and marginalised sections of society affected by the pandemic”, issued several advisories, which helped in improving the response.
“The NHRC has worked with other stakeholders, including civil society, media and individual activists, to strengthen human rights,” he said.
The president said the theme of this year’s Human Rights Day is “equality”.He stated that equality is the very soul of human rights.
“While non-discrimination is the first condition for absolute respect for human dignity, the world is beset with countless prejudices. They, unfortunately, hinder the full realisation of individuals’ potential, and thus are not in the interest of society as a whole. Human Rights Day is the ideal occasion for us to ponder collectively and find ways to overcome such prejudices that only hinder the progress of humanity,” he said.
Kovind said that on this day, the world should also debate and discuss the “Right to a Healthy Environment and Climate Justice”.