UNITED SIKHSWinner of the Sikhs and Charities Award
December 23, 2010
10th Poh (Samvat 542 Nanakshahi)
Press Release
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2010 Global Sikh Civil & Human Rights Conference Day 1 Role of Women in Protecting the Sikh Identity


  • UNITED SIKHS presents the first in the series of updates on the 2010 Global Sikh Civil & Human Rights Conference.

  • On Friday night, panelists discussed the role of women in protecting the Sikh identity, and how Sikh women are fulfilling that role in our schools, in our homes, and in our society.  Issues such as domestic violence and female infanticide/foeticide were also addressed. See videos of some speakers below!

  • Sikh leaders, delegates, educators and members of Parliament, along with prominent human rights advocates gathered to discuss issues related to the theme for the conference "Protect Our Identity" as part of UNITED SIKHS' ongoing global campaign launched earlier this year. Support this campaign, which will continue into 2011. Volunteer, Donate or both!

Surrey, BC (CANADA): The first day of the 2010 Global Sikh Civil Rights Conference addressed women's rights and their role in protecting the Sikh identity. Women from all walks of life came together to discuss how they can engage more actively in the fight for Sikh civil and human rights, and how important their contribution is to ensure that future generations take pride in who they are. The conference opened in Guru Nanak Sikh Gurudwara the evening of Friday, December 17, 2010 in Surrey, BC.

Speakers included prominent activists and community leaders such as Jessi Kaur, Author & Board Member of Kaur Foundation and co-founder of the International Institute of Gurmat Studies (IIGS), Kiranjot Kaur, Senior Shironmani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee Member, Barinder Kaur Rasode, Surrey City Councillor, Harminder Kaur, Global Sikh News columnist, Kamal Dhillon, Author/ Activist, Harminder Kaur Punia, Coordinator of Voices for Freedom, and Jarnail Singh, journalist and activist.

Jessi Kaur, calling on mothers to get actively engaged with educators and youth to uplift their spirits and encourage them to protect their identity   Kiranjot Kaur, speaking about the importance of women's involvement in shaping the Sikh identity
Jarnail Singh, expressing his views on the unique role of Sikh women and their right to wear the dastaar   Becky Monroe, Acting Director of U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service discussing the importance of protecting communities, their identities, and how that can help in hate crime prevention

The topics covered highlighted the importance of the role that women play in Sikhism, the problem of domestic violence, female infanticide, and how to motivate parents to engage with educators.

Click here to see videos of opening remarks by Guru Nanak Sikh Gurudwara President Bikramjit Singh, and presentations by Jessi Kaur and Kamal Dhillon!

The conference opened with an address by Becky Monroe, Acting Director, U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service on protecting communities and their identities. Renowned author, journalist and activist Jarnail Singh also presented his views on how important the contribution of Sikh women is in retaining the fabric of the Sikh identity. He also called on them to embrace their right to wear the dastaar.

UNITED SIKHS and Guru Nanak Sikh Gurudwara-Surrey Delta hosted the Conference with the support of the Sikh Sangat of Canada.

Protect Our Identity is an ongoing international UNITED SIKHS campaign , and as always, we need your support in continuing its efforts to advocate on behalf of the civil and human rights of the Sikh community. For questions or concerns about how you can assist, contact Legal Fellow Ilana Ofgang at law-usa@unitedsikhs.org or Susan Kaur at susan.kaur@unitedsikhs.org.

Note to editors:

UNITED SIKHS is a U.N. affiliated international non-profit, non-governmental, humanitarian relief, human development and advocacy organization.

The Global Sikh Civil Rights Conference is an annual global gathering of human rights lawyers, politicians, judges, activists, multi-faith representatives, and leaders and members of the Sikh community. Organized by UNITED SIKHS, this global conference provides an open arena for discussion of ideas and concerns that most affect Sikhs as a community.

ssued By:
Ilana Ofgang
Legal Fellow

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Since 2008, UNITED SIKHS has compiled surveys in order to publish a yearly report where a community across borders voices its opinions on the current practices, future policies and the overall state of human and civil rights of Sikhs in their respective countries. 

Now is your chance to participate and make your voice heard! Click on the link below and complete the 2010 Global Sikh Civil Rights Survey.


Forward the link to friends and family who may be interested in participating. The more people complete the questionnaire, the stronger we can advocate for our rights in the global community.

Protect Our Identity Campaign

Protect Our Identity (POI) is an ongoing international campaign launched by UNITED SIKHS in August 2010 . It focuses on the need to protect the Sikh community's right to express its religious identity.  Initiatives under the POI campaign include:

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