Monday April 22, 2019

India to lead global community on International Yoga Day

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CompleteYoga

New Delhi: On International Yoga Day, around 35,000 to 40,000 people will lead the celebrations from Rajpath and will help the health enthusiasts from 193 countries to perform various asanas (yogic postures).

Ishvar V. Basavaraddi, director, Morarji Institute of Yoga Sciences, said that people from 193 countries would take part in the celebrations.

“Our institute has prepared thousands of CDs and booklets in different languages to help people perform proper asanas worldwide,” Basavaraddi told IANS, adding that the CDs and booklets have already been sent to all 193 countries.

“The pictures in the CDs and the booklets would be of various Yoga gurus, including that of Baba Ramdev, performing asanas”, he said.

“This would certainly help people understand the importance of Yoga in life,” Basavaraddi said.

He said the event may create yoga awareness among more people and they might start doing the ancient Indian exercises that keep mind and body healthy and peaceful.

The CDs will be played on Rajpath on big screens so that participants can perform while watching them.

“The half-hour programme will begin at 7 a.m.,” Basavaraddi said, adding that the event will find a place in the Guinness World Records.

The United Nations (UN) declared June 21 as the International Yoga Day on India’s request last year.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will lead the celebrations, also called for making yoga as a mass movement, connecting people and strengthening the bonds of humanity.

“The entire global community has come together in support of celebrating the first-ever International Day of Yoga on June 21. Now, that strong support has also turned into immense enthusiasm. I am seeing several people and organisations across the world are working towards making it a memorable event,” Modi said in a statement.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has been looking after the arrangements.

“With an aim of ‘Yoga for Health and Peace’, about 45,000 people will participate in the programme on Rajpath and security arrangements are being made in such a way that everything passes off peacefully”, MHA official K S Dhatwalia told IANS.

“Security would be as tight as it is during the Republic Day parade (on January 26),” he said.

Mukesh Kumar Meena, Joint Commissioner, Delhi Police,said that the security would be quite tight as participants would include dignitaries like the Prime Minister.

“The whole area would be sanitised and proper access control system would be put in place. Delhi Police special commandos would also be deployed at various points in the entire venue,” Meena told IANS.

The participants would include government officials from different departments and prominent citizens. (IANS)

Next Story

Concerns Rise Over China’s Stand at United Nations Human Rights Council

China has passed human rights reviews twice before this one, while more than 120 countries Beijing's human rights record during the most recent process.

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The 22nd session of the U.N. Human Rights Council meets in Geneva on Feb. 25, 2013. RFA

Rights activists are increasingly worried that Beijing’s influence operations are having a negative impact on the work of the United Nations Human Rights Council, which concludes its 40th session on Friday.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) China director Sophie Richardson warned in an article this week that China is seeking to undermine the mission of the U.N. Human Rights Council from within.

She also cited HRW research in 2017 which reported threats and harassment of U.N. staff involved in human rights evaluation by Chinese officials.

“As we head towards the final phase of [China’s U.N. human rights review], ask yourself: What other government threatens #humanrights treaty body experts?” Richardson tweeted on Thursday.

“As an [Human Rights Council] member #China is expected to uphold highest standards,” she wrote in another tweet, referencing a report in The New York Times. “Instead it tells people that merely attending an event is a ‘hostile act.'”

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During the recent round, the Chinese government said it accepted most of the 346 human rights recommendations put forward by the council. VOA

According to HRW’s 2017 article based on a 97-page report: “Chinese officials have at times harassed and intimidated U.N. staff, experts on treaty bodies, and independent experts focusing on specific human rights issues.”

The 2014 death in detention of activist Cao Shunli, who was detained on her way to a U.N. human rights event in Geneva, also sent a “chilling” message to Chinese activists who may want to participate in the U.N. human rights process, the article said.

HRW isn’t the only human rights organization worried about Chinese influence at the U.N.

Renee Xia, who heads the Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) network, reported from a side-event of the Human Rights Council conference in Geneva this week that it was “standing room only.”

“Strong show of interest despite #China urging countries not to attend,” Xia tweeted.

“The strong attendance was more remarkable esp. after #China officials went to many countries’ diplomats at the U.N., Geneva, to threaten them with “serious consequences” if they attended the side events,” she wrote in another tweet.

“#Bullying at the UN must stop!” she wrote.

‘So many restrictions’

Wang Dan, a former leader of the 1989 student-led pro-democracy movement on Tiananmen Square, is also in Geneva this week.

“To tell you the truth, my feelings during my two days here are that China has huge influence at the U.N.,” Wang told RFA.

“For example, at one side-event, it wasn’t just the Chinese delegation who spoke against [criticisms of Beijing’s rights record], but other countries came to speak in support of China’s position,” he said.

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“Many of the countries participating in the Human Rights Council are actually the ones that are carrying out the most violations of human rights, Pixabay

Wang said tight controls over public speech also make it less likely that the ruling Chinese Communist Party will have to face criticism of human rights violations coming from within its own borders.

“There are a lot of people online in China, but they are under so many restrictions,” he said. “You can’t mention the Tiananmen Massacre. You can’t mention [late Nobel peace laureate and political prisoner] Liu Xiaobo. You can’t say this, you can’t say that.”

“I don’t think that’s how you define freedom … but then the Chinese point to the U.N. charter, which says that all member states must be respected,” he said.

‘Autocratic rule the default’

Veteran New York-based rights activist Liu Qing said the work of the council had become “unrecognizable” to him.

“Many of the countries participating in the Human Rights Council are actually the ones that are carrying out the most violations of human rights,” Liu told RFA.

“The only purpose of these countries in insinuating themselves into the Human Rights Council is to curb the positive role of the Human Rights Council and make autocratic rule the default setting on the international stage,” he said.

Amnesty International blogger Shao Jiang wrote in December 2018 that Beijing is reinterpreting universal human rights as merely the right to survival, freedom to access food, and regards other definitions of human rights as secondary to trade and economic development.

“The Chinese government has appointed government officials as independent experts into the UN’s Human Rights Council Advisory Committee, and the U.N. treaty bodies,” Shao said.

China has passed human rights reviews twice before this one, while more than 120 countries Beijing’s human rights record during the most recent process.

During the recent round, the Chinese government said it accepted most of the 346 human rights recommendations put forward by the council.

Also Read: Myanmar Government Calls Ethnic Armed Groups To Attend Collective Peace Discussions For The First Time

The United Nations now reports annually on government reprisals against human rights defenders participating in U.N. human rights efforts, Richardson wrote in an article in The Hill last December.

“China has topped the list of offenders in every report issued,” she said. (RFA)