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US in the News - Live Punjab


76-yr Sikh wins turban case against France
January 13 , 2012


Bobigny, France, Jan 13 (IBNS): A 76-year-old Sikh man has won a turban case against France after United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) mentioned that the European nation had breached the religious freedom of the man by asking him to take off his turban for his ID photo, a US-based Sikh group said.

The UNHRC directed France to submit a report by March 15 on the steps they have taken to redress the violation of the religious freedom of Ranjit Singh,United Sikhs mentioned in a statement.

In a press statement, the US- based Sikh group said UNHRC observed: "Even if the obligation to remove the turban for the identity photograph might be described as a one-time requirement, it would potentially interfere with the author's (Ranjit Singh's) freedom of religion on a continuing basis because he would always appear without his religious head covering in the identity photograph and could therefore be compelled to remove his turban during identity checks."

United Sikhs had filed a communication on behalf of Ranjit Singh to the UNHRC in December 2008.

UNHRC observed that France had failed to explain how the Sikh turban hindered identification since the wearer's face would be visible and he would be wearing the turban it at all times, therefore, the regulation constituted a violation of article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which was entered into force for France on 4 February 1981.

"I had faith that truth and justice would prevail and I patiently waited for this day. I pray that France will now fulfil its obligation and grant me a residence card bearing my photo without baring my head," Ranjit Singh was quoted as saying in the United Sikhs site.

Singh was denied access to the public health-care system or to other social benefits since 2005 because his residence card was refused due to his refusal to remove his turban.

"The UN Human Rights Committee has asked France to submit a report by March 15th on measures it is taking to remedy the violation of the religious freedom of 76 year old Ranjit Singh,who was asked to remove his turban for his ID photo," said Mejindarpal Kaur, United Sikhs Legal Director.


Article Courtesy of : India Blooms News Service