UN – UNITED SIKHS Blog http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog Recognize The Human Race As One Fri, 01 Sep 2017 23:45:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sikhs Ask Canadian PM to Raise France’s Turban Ban at Meeting with French PM http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2013/03/sikhs-ask-canadian-pm-to-raise-frances-turban-ban-at-meeting-with-french-pm/ http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2013/03/sikhs-ask-canadian-pm-to-raise-frances-turban-ban-at-meeting-with-french-pm/#comments Thu, 14 Mar 2013 03:57:36 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=1858 Sikhs Ask Canadian PM to Raise France’s Turban Ban at Meeting with French PM . 

Harper Should Raise France’s Turban Ban at Meeting with French Prime Minister: Canadian Liberal Leader.

Highlights:

  • UNITED SIKHS wrote recently to the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, requesting him to raise his objection to the French turban ban during his meeting this week with his counterpart, Jean-Marc Ayrault.
  • Sikhs globally believe that a ban on the turban is a betrayal of France’s motto- Liberté, égalité, fraternité.
  • Canadian Liberal Leader Bob Rae said in a statement today, “If we are to be a defender of rights, we must defend them around the world, including in France. We would encourage Mr. Harper to have a frank and open discussion with his French counterpart on this issue”.
  • Canadian Sikhs have also asked all Canadian Members of National and Provincial Parliaments to release similar statements supporting a Sikh’s right to his turban, urging Mr. Harper to raise this issue with the French PM.
Toronto, Canada: UNITED SIKHS wrote to the Canadian Prime Minister earlier this week asking him to raise his objection to the turban ban in France, during his meeting with his French counterpart, who is currently visiting Canada.

“It is not very often that the people of a nation write directly to their Prime Minister about the threat of their identity in another sovereign state,” UNITED SIKHS’ director, Ranbir Singh, said in the letter to the Canadian Prime Minister.

“Unless France allows Sikhs to wear a turban in schools and on ID documents photographs, the Sikh turban would be deemed to be banned in France, which will be a betrayal of France’s motto – Liberté, égalité, fraternité,” the letter added.
“Globalization in the 21st century has made human rights a border-less right. It is now no longer acceptable to say that we cannot interfere with the ‘internal affairs’ of a sovereign state (France). The precedent was set in the previous century when the world joined the Blacks of South Africa to fight apartheid – an ‘internal affair’ of a sovereign state. Just as the Blacks of South Africa could not remove the color of their skin, Sikhs cannot remove their turban and strip themselves of their identity,” the letter said. You may read the letter in full here.
Liberal Leader Bob Rae made the following statement today on Stephen Harper’s meeting with French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault:
“France’s decision to ban the wearing of turbans and other religious symbols in identification photos, government schools and public spaces has received international criticism and flies in the face of religious freedom. As a result of this ban, many Sikhs are denied access to employment, public health care and social benefits that require a government identification card. It should be an issue of great concern to this Conservative government and all Canadians.
After the much-publicized launch of Canada’s new Office of Religious Freedoms, today’s meeting is an ideal opportunity for this government to come to the defense of minority rights and walk the walk on religious freedoms. If we are to be a defender of rights, we must defend them around the world, including in France. We would encourage Mr. Harper to have a frank and open discussion with his French counterpart on this issue.”In 2008, UNITED SIKHS’ attorneys filed three cases against the French turban ban in schools and ID photos before the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC).

Victory was achieved at the UNHRC in the cases of both, Bikramjit Singh and Ranjit Singh. We await to hear the outcome of Shingara Singh’s case. If there was any doubt about the legality of France’s action, the eminent jurists of the UNHRC recently pronounced unequivocally that France had violated the human rights of both Bikramjit Singh and Ranjit Singh by denying them their religious right to wear a turban.
However, France has not overturned their ban and continue to enforce it on Bikramjit Singh and Ranjit Singh despite UNHRC’s decision. All Canadian Sikhs, UNITED SIKHS’ team members and the global Sikh community urge and seek the support of the Canadian Government, Leaders of New Democratic Party, Liberal Party of Canada and all Members of the Parliaments to help raise this ban.

Sukhwinder Singh
Director, UNITED SIKHS
Tel: 1-905-672-2245
Fax: 
1-810-885-4264
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unitedsikhs-canada@unitedsikhs.org

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First Sikh American Offers Prayers at the 67th United Nations General Assembly Opening Session http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2013/03/first-sikh-american-offers-prayers-at-the-67th-united-nations-general-assembly-opening-session/ http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2013/03/first-sikh-american-offers-prayers-at-the-67th-united-nations-general-assembly-opening-session/#comments Fri, 08 Mar 2013 06:31:36 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=1848

Community Update

First Sikh American Offers Prayers at the 67th United Nations General Assembly Opening Session!

Highlights:

  • Jatinder P. Singh, a Sikh American and an Associate Director, UNITED SIKHS, offers prayers at the 67th United Nations (UN) General Assembly opening session conducted in the General Assembly building of the UN.
  • Over 1500 attendees, including UN President H.E. Mr. Vuk Jeremic and leaders from various religious organizations across the globe, joined hands to promote messages of world peace.
  • UNITED SIKHS is the first Sikh UN-DPI affiliated organization and is recognized by the United Nations since December 2007.
  • Click here to see the prayer.

Mar 06, 2013
25th Phagun (Samvat 544 Nanakshahi
New York, USA
:Jatinder P. Singh, a Sikh American and Associate Director, UNITED SIKHS, offered prayers at the United Nations 67th General Assembly opening session. The event, ‘United for a Culture of Peace Through Interfaith Harmony’, was part of the annual World Interfaith Harmony Week. Organized by the Office of the President of the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and The Committee of Religious NGOs, this event was held at United Nations General Assembly Hall on February 14th, 2013.

Each participant was allotted a time of thirty seconds for their prayer. Jatinder P. Singh recited excerpts from the Mool Mantar accompanied by a musical piece played by Jon Blond on the flute. The following is an excerpt from Jatinder P. Singh’s prayer:

“Ik Onkaar, Satnaam… In this age of darkness this world is filled with maya, money, and weapons of mass destruction. The only answer to save this world is through prayers in the company of saints.”

Jatinder P. Singh also read the English translation of an excerpt from Sukhmani Sahib (Ashtpadi 7.3).

“In the company of saints all enemies become friends. In the company of saints, man becomes very pure…” He also added, “I truly hope one day, all the countries can get together at the United Nations and just pray for world peace.”

After delivering his prayer, Jatinder P. Singh was approached by members of the UN and other faith groups, who shared how they were moved by the positive and uplifting message of peace.

A flag ceremony followed the prayers. Flags of UN member nations were hoisted with a heart-warming welcome and blessing of peace upon each country.

The UN General Assembly is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations. Comprising of 193 members of the United Nations, it provides a unique platform for multilateral discussions on the international issues covered by the UN Charter.

The event ended with closing statements from Ms. Monica Willard, President of the Committee of Religious NGO’s. There were over 1500 attendees from various organizations including Gail Bindley, UN General; Philippe Kridelka, Director of UNESCO; Ambassador Byrganym Aitimova,Permanent Representative of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United Nations; Reverend Father Mark Arey, Director of Inter-Orthodox group; Ms. Kiran Bali, Chair of the United Religions Initiative Global Council, and H.E. Ambassador T. Hamid Al-Bayati, Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations.

Messages of world peace and prayers were offered by various religious organizations including:Tuwe Huni Kuin–Brazilian Amazon Huni Kuin community, Caroline Vasquez–Baha’i International community, Ven. Seong Won–Director, social affairs at Korean Zen Buddhism, Rev. Kathleen Stone–United Methodist Church, Swami Parameshananda–Bharat Sevashram Sangha, Lucy Schmitz–Ethical Culture Society, Apeksha Vora–Member, Anuvrat Global Organization, Rabbi Michael Weisser–Free Synagogue of Flushing, Imam Izak El M. Pasha–Masjid Malcolm Shabazz, and Nina Mistry–Federation of Zoroastrian Associations of North America.

UNITED SIKHS is humbled to partake in this event where representatives from various countries and religions were able to come together amidst international conflict and share common values of peace and pluralism.

Manmeet Singh
Staff Attorney, International Civil and Human Rights Advocacy (ICHRA)
UNITED SIKHS
Tel: (646) 315-3909
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law@unitedsikhs.org

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UNITED SIKHS, along with other NGOs meets with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to discuss on growing Human Rights concerns http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2012/11/united-sikhs-along-with-other-ngos-meets-with-un-high-commissioner-for-human-rights-to-discuss-on-growing-human-rights-concerns/ http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/2012/11/united-sikhs-along-with-other-ngos-meets-with-un-high-commissioner-for-human-rights-to-discuss-on-growing-human-rights-concerns/#comments Tue, 06 Nov 2012 17:19:36 +0000 http://www.unitedsikhs.org/blog/?p=1768

October 24th, New York: The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay met with over 20 NGOs on  October 24th at the UN Church Center in New York to address the growing human rights concerns  and also shared the updates on OHCHR’s activities. The meeting was moderated by Vice Chair for NGO Committee on Human Rights, Dr. Bobbi Nassar.

The Commissioner gave an overview of the OHCHR’s 2011-2012 activities. This included the workings of the Human Rights Council, the Universal Periodic Review, and, a great increase in the number of instances in which human rights (and the OHCHR) is gaining strength at the UN and in “post-2015 development” discussions. “The growing recognition of the centrality of human rights in the peace, security, development and humanitarian agendas, and trust in OHCHR is very rewarding,” Ms. Pillay noted. However, she warned that financial constraints are limiting the resources required to support her office’s mandated activities.

UNITED SIKHS questioned about the ban of conspicuous symbols such as turbans and headgears in schools and in general(in specific countries)which violate the very essence of human rights. The High Commissioner responded saying that “A faith group and minority have the right to practice and manifest their culture, religion and identity without discrimination and I oppose these principles and standards when I raise these matters with government. They have to find balance to accommodate diversity.”

US will continue advocating for equal rights as enshrined in the charter of UN.

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