Sikh Human Rights Conference Highlights Challenges

During the United Sikhs' Fourth Annual Global Sikh Civil and Human Rights Conference held April 24 the United Natio...

Dabinderjit Singh (Sikh Federation), Dr Pritpal Singh (AGPC), Daljeet Singh (DSGMC),
Avtar Singh (SGPC), and Rahuldeep Singh (California Lutheran University.

  • NEW YORK, United States

    During the United Sikhs'Fourth Annual Global Sikh Civil and Human Rights Conference held April 24 the United Nations Church Center here, delegates from around the globe discussed pressing issues facing the Sikh community, most particularly the ban on the turban in French schools, ID photographs and its domino effect in other European and western countries.

    France's refusal to implement the United Nation Human Rights Committee's decision in favor of 76-year-old Ranjit Singh was rebuked by participants as a direct violation of the UN's preamble.

    The main focus of the discussions was around identity and its role in religion, human rights and the United Nations. The discussions were centered around the protection of the Sikh civil and human rights and the role of identity in religion, according to a press release.

    S. Avtar Singh, president of the Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, told the audience that the SGPC in India takes the France issue very seriously and that he had many meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in this regard, which have not produced any change in the attitude of the French government to change their law. 

    He said he will vociferously raise his concerns impacting the global Sikh community with the Government of India.

    ACLU president Susan Herman talked about how the ACLU successfully litigated cases on behalf of Sikhs, and stressed the need for the American legal system to adopt international law and treaties on human and civil rights, particularly in instances where domestic legislation is inadequate to provide just results.

    Congressman Mike Honda, in his written message, congratulated United Sikhs and said, "Today's Global Conference brings together leaders of various sectors of society and provides an arena for discussion of ideas and concerns that affect Sikhs.”

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