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Euro Campaign for Right to Difference and Diversity

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Introduction

As you may be aware, in March 2004 a law was passed in France that bans conspicuous religious symbols and attire in the classroom. Under this law, schoolchildren are banned from wearing the Christian cross, Jewish skull-cap, Islamic head scarf and the Sikh turban. Many schoolchildren have been expelled for refusing to abandon their articles of faith and 87% of Sikh schoolchildren interviewed have been affected (doc: 52.0 KB). Several German states have passed similar legislation that bans the wearing of religious signs and clothing by public servants.

On February 21st 2005, five cross-party Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) tabled a 'Written Declaration on Religious Rights and Freedoms in France and throughout the European Union.' If 367 Members of the European Parliament sign this declaration by May 20th, the European Parliament will be able to have a debate and pass a resolution that addresses this important issue.

We are running a campaign for your right to difference and diversity. As a European, there is no question that you should have the freedom and right to express yourself with respect and integrity for others. Difference and diversity are what make life interesting. Write to your MEP, and help keep it that way—for all of us.

In June 2005, Gurmit Singh, member of the UK chapter of UNITED SIKHS, petitioned the European Parliament to investigate the French law that bans the wearing of the Sikh Turban in schools and to seek France's compliance of European human rights laws.

The UNITED SIKHS' Right to Turban Campaign was started in response to the French and German laws. See details at www.unitedsikhs.org/rtt/

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UNITED SIKHS' Petition to European Parliament

UNITED SIKHS Petition EU Parl (doc: 69 KB)

Adobe PDF document EU Petition admissible letter (pdf: 287 KB)

A UNITED SIKHS member has petitioned the European Parliament to investigate the French law that bans the wearing of the Sikh Turban in French schools and seek France's compliance with European human rights law. This petition, which was filed in June 2005 by a UNITED SIKHS member, Gurmit Singh, was listed during a plenary session of the opening of the European Parliament on 5th Sept 2005.

The petition cites the infringement of several protocols and treaties that France has signed up to as a member state of the European Union, including the Treaty of the European Union, the Charter of Fundamental Rights and several directives and protocols on human rights.

The UNITED SIKHS petition to the European Parliament to investigate the French law that bans the wearing of the Sikh Turban in French schools and seek France's compliance with European human rights law, has been declared admissible by the Committee on Petitions. The petition has now been referred to the Committee on ‘Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, for information.‘

European Parliament's Written Declaration


Microsoft Word document P6_DCL(2005)0005_EN (doc: 31 KB)

Written Declaration 005/2005 tabled at the European Parliament on 21st February 2005 by MEPs Caroline Lucas, Sarah Ludford, Claude Moraes, Phillip Bushill- Matthews and Alain Lepietz.

The Declaration is available to be signed outside the Hemicycle during each Strasbourg session and in room PHS 2C19 at all other times.

Signature Update on the Written Declaration
(Figures Updated on 18th May 2005)
Current Target
70 MEPs 367 MEPs
Written Declaration Deadline 20th May 2005

MEP Responses

Read what MEPs have said in their replies to our e-mail abou the written declaration. View our Support/Opposition listing for the current list of those MEPs who have replied.

Act Now!

Want to know what you can do to help the schoolchildren in France? Follow our Step-by-Step Guide on writing to your MEPs and help us meet the declaration signature target.

Turban—The Whole Nine Yards

Below are links to sites with Turban related information.

More Turban Links…

Campaign News

Press Release
Lobby your MEPs in Strasbourg on 11th May
Sikhs—children, men and women, are requested to gather on the steps of the European parliament in Strasbourg at 8am on 11th May to remind their Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to… Read more…
Sunday, 01st May 2005

More Campaign News…

Sikhs Defend Europe's Freedom, Right to Difference, Right to Diversity During WWI/II


80,000 Turban wearing Sikhs fought on the front line for France's Freedom during WWI/II

Sikhs in France during WWI

Sikhs Remembered in the Western Front during World War I

Sikhs in the Great War in Europe

Religious Freedom Promotes Diversity


Parliamentary Questions by MEPs on the French Ban

European Parliament Web Site on Anti-discrimination

www.europa.eu.int

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