Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday that protection of human rights has been an important part of our culture.

Addressing the Silver Jubilee Foundation Day function of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in New Delhi, the PM said that NHRC has contributed to nation building by becoming the voice of the deprived and the oppressed in the last two and a half decades.

He said that after independence, elements such as an independent and impartial judiciary, an active media, an active civil society, and organisations such as NHRC are in place to protect human rights.

Recalling the period of Emergency, the PM said, “This devotion to human rights has helped the nation emerge out of a major crisis in the 70s. The dark period of Emergency had snatched even the right to life. But Indians regained their human rights through their efforts.”

Highlighting his government’s campaign for the welfare of the girl child, the PM said that there has been a rise in the number of daughters in several states due to ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’.

“There were questions over daughters’ right to life. A section of society with narrow-minded people considered daughters unwanted and killed them in womb. Today I can proudly say that with ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ several states have seen a rise in number of daughters,” he said.

The PM added that his government has worked towards eliminating problems faced by women while working in the night shifts and has provided them adequate security during it.

Underlining the achievements of his government’s other schemes in the last four years, the PM said that a lot of serious efforts have been made to improve the quality of life of the poor and ensure that all Indians have access to the basic needs of human beings.

“The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act and Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill are examples of our government’s commitment towards human rights,” the PM said.

The PM also said that the law which provides relief to Muslim women from triple talaq is also part of a series of steps taken to ensure basic rights for people.

The Prime Minister mentioned steps taken to improve ease of access to justice, such as increasing the number of e-courts, and strengthening of the National Judicial Data Grid. He described Aadhaar as a technology-based empowerment initiative.

“It is a huge achievement that in the past four-and-half years serious efforts have been made to raise the dignity of the poor, deprived, exploited and oppressed person of society,” he said.

He said that along with awareness of human rights, citizens should also be aware of their duties and responsibilities. He said those who understand their responsibilities, also know how to respect the rights of others.

The Prime Minister said that the role of NHRC is also crucial for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

The PM also released a postage stamp, special cover and the new version of NHRC website on the occasion.