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Community Voice

 

People of the world, human rights are at stake. 

       The time for action is now.”

URGENT ACTION ALERT AND UPDATES


French President Jacques Chirac has moved for the ban against wearing articles of faith in schools and their regulation in the workplace throughout France. If this ban is implemented, several thousands of Muslims, Jews, Christians, Sikhs and people of other minority groups will lose their right to public non-discriminatory education, their freedom of faith-based, religious and ethnic expression, and will effectively risk losing their identity and way of life. UNITED SIKHS has enacted a petition and campaign against this ban and requires the support of the worldwide community in protecting and preserving the dignity and liberty of the French people.

1) SIGN AND PROMOTE THE PETITION

The 7000 Sikhs in France each need their voice heard. Please, get your friends, co-workers, family and peers signing! Your one vote will help more than one person.

The petition may be signed online at:

http://www.petitiononline.com/sikh5555/petition.html

and a hard copy in Panjabi, English or French may be viewed and downloaded at:

To view and sign the UNITED SIKHS petition against the ban, visit the link below: http://www.unitedsikhs.org/us-eu/petitions/RightToTurban.htm

Make copies of the petition and start a signature drive at your local Gurdwara this weekend. Send the signed petition forms to the nearest UNITED SIKHS address (http://www.unitediskhs.org/mission.html) or call UNITED SIKHS at the telephone numbers supplied on the petition forms to make other arrangements.

These signatures need to be submitted to the French Ambassador in your country. See Item 6 below. 

2) CHECK FOR UPDATES IN VARIOUS COUNTRIES

We need to get the petition signed, as representatives are meeting with French ambassadors throughout the world next week!

                                            
UK UPDATES

19th Jan: UNITED SIKHS will lead a delegation to meet the Special Advisor to the French Ambassador in London. Others in the team are: Union Of Jewish Students (UJS), National Gurdwara Council (UK), Sikh Secretariat and a Sikh representative from France.

Campaign supporters hope to gather outside the French Embassy carrying campaign placards and banners. They will also be wearing the campaign t-shirts. Visit the link below for design of campaign material:

http://www.unitedsikhs.org/us-eu/petitions/tshirtdesign/Final_poster.jpg 

At the meeting the petition signatures will be delivered. The Special Advisor will be handed a power point presentation on Sikhs in France since WWI. The Ambassador will be asked to convey the petition to the French President and Parliament. We will make the case for upholding Art 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights: Right to manifest one's religion. 

We will also request the President of France to meet with French Sikh leaders ASAP.  

USA UPDATES

1) Major Gurdwaras in USA have endorsed  the RightToTurban (http://www.unitedsikhs.org/us-eu/petitions) petition. Amongst them are
Gurdwaras in New York, New Jersey, Freemont,San Hose, El Sobrante, Detroit, Washington DC (by the newly formed Ad-hoc committee that constitutes the major Gurdwaras in DC.), Atlanta, Michigan, Seattle, Chicago, Dallas Texas.

The increasing number of organizations supporting the petition worldwide is available at
http://www.unitedsikhs.org/us-eu/petitions/OrganisationsSuppRightToTurban.htm .

The above list of organizations with their comments supporting the petition will be submitted to President Jacques Chirac along with the views and letters of the Sikhs within the diaspora. Organizations who have not submitted their views can fax their views at 1-810-885-4264

2) 21st Jan: UNITED SIKHS will be a part of a delegation lead by Director of VOICES FOR FREEDOM, Dr. Amarjit Singh (Washington DC), a human rights organization based in New York. The delegation will consist of other organizations and members of the community. An update will be posted later after the meeting.

The meetings are as follows:- 

9AM: Knox Thames, Helsinki Commission 

11AM: Janet Mayland, Office of Int. Religious Freedoms, US State Department

 12:30 PM: USCIRF, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom 

3:00 PM: French Ambassador in Washington DC 

22nd Jan: UNITED SIKHS will lead a delegation with VOICES FOR FREEDOM in San Francisco to meet the Consul General of the French Consulate to express their views. This delegation will consist of other organizations and members of the community in the West coast.

31st Jan: A delegation of UNITED SIKHS will reach Paris to participate in the Sikh Rally hosted by the Sikhs in France. The delegation will also meet with other important members of the French government and will express their concern of the Sikhs worldwide and especially of the Sikhs in USA on the Right To Turban issue in France. 

More UPDATES TO FOLLOW IN THE COMING DAYS..

UPDATES FROM SOUTH AMERICA 

19th Jan: A Sikh delegation led by UNITED SIKHS representative Sardar Partap Singh will meet the French Consular General in San Isidro, Lima .  The petition along with the signatories will be submitted with a viewpoint to express the opinion of the Sikh Diaspora in a UNITED STAND, saying NO! to President Jacques Chirac's proposal to ban the Right To Turban in France. 

UPDATES FROM ASIA

Major Gurudwara organizations especially under the SGPC and the DGPC have endorsed the petition. Updates on this will be posted as available. UNITED SIKHS volunteers expect more than 50,000 signatures from various Gurdwaras in New Delhi. Harinder Singh Phoolka, a Human Rights Activist on behalf of UNITED SIKHS is to lead a Sikh delegation to see the French Ambassador in India. Similar signatures are expected from the Sikh Sangat in  Malaysia and Singapore. To see a list of organizations endorsing the petition, click http://www.unitedsikhs.org/us-eu/petitions/OrganisationsSuppRightToTurban.htm 

UPDATES FROM AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

Representatives of UNITED SIKHS are working with major Gurudwara’s and organizations in Australia and New Zealand to get signatures on the petition to be submitted to the French President Jacques Chirac and also to French Ambassadors in these countries. Sardar Gurinder Singhji is spearheading the effort with other Sikhs from New Zealand. Updates on this will be posted as available. To see a list of organizations from New Zealand and Australia supporting the petition, click on http://www.unitedsikhs.org/us-eu/petitions/OrganisationsSuppRightToTurban.htm

3) WRITE TO YOUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES IN USA, UK and CANADA.
See the sample letters to send to your local MP and member of congress and parliaments. These letters and your elected representative’s contact details may be downloaded at. The objective is to request the various countries to pass a resolution to support the Right To Turban and condemning the proposed law to be passed in France.  The same are available at

US SAMPLE LETTER :http://www.unitedsikhs.org/us-eu/sacred/france/us.php (USA)
UNITED SIKHS is working with other organizations within the UNITED STATES to help pass a resolution in the Congress on the  Right To Turban in France. The team created is being led by Dr. Prithpal Singh of AGPC and the first endorsement for the resolution in the Congress is expected from Congressman  Mike Honda followed by other congressional members.

UK SAMPLE LETTER: http://www.unitedsikhs.org/us-eu/sacred/france/uk.php (UK)
In the UK, the campaign is supported by an Early Day Motion (EDM 362) moved by UK MPs in addition to support for an adjournment debate.
The EDM may be viewed at:
http://edm.ais.co.uk/weblink/html/motion.html/ref=362
Mohamad Sawar MP who tabled the EDM welcomed UNITED SIKHS' move to get petitioners to write to their MPs to support the EDM.

CA SAMPLE LETTER: http://www.unitedsikhs.org/us-eu/sacred/france/ca.php (CANADA)
 UNITED SIKHS representatives are working with various members of other Sikh Organizations to endorse and get a resolution passed in the Canadian Parliament.

4) REGISTER YOUR ORGANISATION TO SUPPORT THE CAMPAIGN.
This list will be sent to President Jacques Chirac by our delegation from USA, UK and Canada.

All organizations wishing to offer their support for this worldwide campaign may register at: http://www.unitedsikhs.org/us-eu/petitions/organizations.php to show support for the petition.

The ever-growing list of global organizations that support the UNITED SIKHS worldwide campaign against the proposed ban is available at.

http://www.unitedsikhs.org/us-eu/petitions/OrganisationsSuppRightToTurban.htm

5) CREATE AWARENESS

Create awareness within your community through the UNITED SIKHS website (www.unitedsikhs.org) and by using the UNITED SIKHS t-shirt, poster and banner design (See the designs at the following URL http://www.unitedsikhs.org/us-eu/petitions/tshirtdesign/) 

Anyone who wishes to print any of the campaign material may contact taskforce@unitedsikhs.org for a high-resolution image of the designs.  

6) MEET WITH YOUR COUNTRY’S FRENCH AMBASSADOR

As soon as you are able to obtain an appointment with the French Ambassador to your country, please e-mail taskforce@unitedsiksh.org. You may also contact taskforce@unitedsiksh.org for information on presenting the case against the proposed ban.

 Present to the Ambassador the UNITED SIKHS Right To Turban petition signatures that you have collated and the online signatures. You may obtain copies of the online signatures by contacting taskforce@unitedsikhs.org


Our Mission

To transform underprivileged and minority communities and individuals into informed and vibrant members of society through civic, educational and personal development programs, by fostering active participation in social and economic activity.

UNITED SIKHS is also an avenue for networking between like-minded organisations to establish and nurture meaningful projects and dialogues - whether social, cultural or political- to promote harmony, understanding and reciprocity in our villages, towns and cities.

UNITED SIKHS is a coalition of organisations and individuals, who share a common vision based on the belief that there is no greater endeavour than to serve, empower and uplift fellow beings. The core of our philosophy is an unwavering commitment to civic service and social progress on behalf of the common good.

Accordingly, UNITED SIKHS has sought to fulfil its mission not only by informing, educating and uplifting fellow beings but also by participating in cross-cultural and political exchanges to ensure that the promises and benefits of democracy are realized by all.

We at UNITED SIKHS believe that the development of enlightened and progressive societies can be made possible by socially conscious groups of people who make a commitment to develop and direct human potential. Our work, efforts and achievements stand as a testament to our faith in this vision.