A Champion for Human Rights (?)

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of India ruled that transgenders would be recognized as a separate third gender, which shows how India is projecting itself on a global scale. Articles from the Times of India and Hindustan Times agree that this landmark decision is a huge step forward for transgender rights. The Supreme Court argued that continued discrimination of transgenders went against the constitution, and that they should be seen as a socially and economically backward class that should be included in welfare programs. Indian media is not alone in its praise for the decision, though. International news organizations have run the story. A BBC article included the observation that there is much cause for celebration because around 28,000 transgenders are eligible to vote for the first time this election. Undoubtedly, India is portraying itself as a champion of human rights, showing the rest of the world that it is a leader on this front.

However, this landmark decision has opened India up to more scrutiny in the area of sexual orientation. An Al Jazeera article noted that this decision came after the Supreme Court reinstated a ban on gay sex last year. Indian media agrees that in light of this decision there is a need to extend justice to other marginalized groups, specifically the LGBT community. Therefore, while India tries to show the world that it is a leader for human rights, more people are taking notice of where they have fallen short of the mark. For India to truly take lead on this subject, there is some work to be done.

One Response to “A Champion for Human Rights (?)”

  1. koppercarter says:

    I agree that the Indian Supreme Court made a big step forward in protecting human rights by making the decision to recognize transgender as a third gender in the country. However, Transgender people are not the only ones that need to be protected. If India finds the discrimination of transgender individuals unconstitutional why are they not speaking out against Women’s rights as well. There are continued incidents of violence against women in India, a failed protection of free speech, and public officials are not held accountable for violating women’s rights. India cannot emerge as a champion for Human Rights until they address the violations of all groups not just Transgender.

    India has often been criticized for failing to speak out against Human Rights Violations and having policies that are reactive, meaning they make policies as issues arise instead of being preventative. India was also criticized because they had failed to address the domestic human rights issues resulting from the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and protecting ethnic and religious minorities.

    http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-reluctant-to-speak-out-on-rights-issues-says-amnesty/article3449886.ece

    http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/01/human-rights-violation-on-the-rise-in-india-recent-report-says/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

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