India, EU reiterate commitment to values of democracy, respect for human rights

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New Delhi, Apr 12 (PTI) India and the European Union on Monday reiterated their commitment to the shared principles and values of democracy, freedom, rule of law and respect for human rights, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

The two sides exchanged views on the issues at the ninth India-EU human rights dialogue which was held in the national capital in pursuance of a decision taken at the summit talks between the two sides in July last.

The MEA said the European Union (EU) reiterated its opposition to capital punishment in all cases and without exception.

'As the world's two largest democracies, India and the EU reiterated their commitment to human rights. In this context, they emphasised the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelatedness of all human rights,' the MEA said in a statement.

It said the participants exchanged views on strengthening human rights, including in social, economic and cultural spheres.

'They discussed civil and political rights, freedom of religion or belief, women empowerment, children's rights, rights of minorities and vulnerable groups,' it said.

'Both the EU and India expressed the need to foster greater engagement on human rights issues, based on internationally recognised human rights laws and standards,' the MEA added.

It said the two sides recognised the importance of strengthening the human rights mechanisms for the promotion of human rights and the role of national human rights institutions, civil society actors and journalists in this regard.

'The European Union reiterated its opposition to capital punishment in all cases and without exception,' the MEA said.

The two sides discussed enhancing India-EU cooperation in international fora, particularly at the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

'In this regard, the Indian delegation proposed to hold regular exchanges between their respective permanent missions to the UN based in Geneva and to explore cooperation at the UNHRC,' the MEA said.

It said both sides reiterated their commitment to the shared principles and values of democracy, freedom, rule of law and respect for human rights.

'Both parties looked forward to the next edition of the Dialogue next year,' it noted.

The dialogue was co-chaired by Joint Secretary for Europe West in the Ministry of External Affairs Sandeep Chakravorty, and the Ambassador of the European Union to India Ugo Astuto. PTI MPB SMN SMN