UN encourages all to respect rule of law: UN chief's spokesperson on Sabarimala row

United Nations: Noting that the Supreme Court in India has ruled on the issue of women entering the Sabarimala temple in Kerala, a spokesperson for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said the world body encourages all to respect the rule of law.

"As you know, this is an issue on which the Supreme Court of India has commented. So, we will leave the matter in the hands of the rule of law authorities in India. Of course, we want all parties to respect the rule of law, and you're aware of the UN's position and its fundamental position on the rights on equal rights of all people,” Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary General, Farhan Haq told reporters at his daily press briefing Friday.

Haq was asked about the UN's position on the Sabarimala situation in the wake of the widespread violence in Kerala over the entry of women into the hill-top shrine.

Haq reiterated that the UN "obviously" encourages all to respect the laws of the country when he was asked by a reporter that not allowing women to enter the temple is a violation of human rights, given that the Supreme Court has ruled in the matter.

When asked if the UN's position on equal rights for women also applies to other religions such as Islam or Catholicism, Haq said "It applies across the board…The question is how that is to be carried out. In this case, like I said…ultimately, this is a question on which the courts have pronounced themselves, and we encourage respect for the rule of law.”

Kerala has been marred with violence since the afternoon of January 2 after two women of menstruating age managed to enter Sabarimala temple.

The shrine was out of bounds for girls and women between 10 and 50 years of age. The Supreme Court's September 28 verdict allowed women of all age groups to offer prayers at the hill shrine dedicated to Lord Ayyappa.

The southern state has been witnessing massive protests from the right-wing organisations since the Left-led state government decided to implement the Supreme Court ruling. PTI

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