UnitedSikhs

RIGHT TO TURBAN FUND:
AWARENESS AND FUNDRAISING ALERT

Click here to read the latest developments


It is close to 5 years since 9/11, an incident which was followed by a global challenge to Sikh religious rights. Cases have since been fought to defend the right to wear Sikh Articles of Faith such as the Turban and the Kirpan in France, Belgium, the UK, the United States, Australia, Malaysia, Denmark and Canada - where such rights had previously been taken as given. 

UNITED SIKHS, an international human and civil rights advocacy organisation, has worked closely with the global Sikh community and the French Sikh community, in particular, to respond to these challenges. For details of UNITED SIKHS' advocacy work, click here
 
It is important to single out the situation in France where it has been two years since a law was passed that banned the Turban in schools and on photo ID documents. 
 
UNITED SIKHS started the Right To Turban (RTT) campaign in December 2003, as soon as the law to ban the Turban in schools was announced in France. The UNITED SIKHS legal team, constitutes lawyers both Sikhs and non-Sikhs from around the world, including lawyers from the leading London human rights law firm, Bindman and Partners Solicitors, which handled the Mandla case in the House of Lords many years ago that won British Sikhs the legal rights it enjoys today.
 
The UNITED SIKHS legal team has worked with the French Turban Action Committee to bring law suits against the French government to fight for the rights of French Sikh schoolchildren to wear their turban to school and to over-turn the Turban ban on photo ID documents.
 
To date no solution has been found for the Sikhs, contrary to public assurances - the most recent being President Jacques Chirac’s assurance in February 2006, to the Indian Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh.
 
Most of the legal actions, that were commenced between a year and two ago, have reached the French Supreme Court and are awaiting a final appeal hearing within the next few months. Whilst we cannot predict the outcome of the cases in the French courts, we have to be prepared to appeal the cases to the European Court of Human Rights, the European Court of Justice and the UN Committee on Human Rights. The costs of the legal actions to date have been funded jointly by the French Turban Action Committee and the UNITED SIKHS. However, the legal actions to the international courts will involve a huge financial outlay that will need the support of the global Sikh community.
 
The time has now come for UNITED SIKHS to appeal to the global Sikh community to help us meet this challenge. UNITED SIKHS resources to meet these challenges need to be augmented so that we can live up to our track record of 'never knowingly turning away any Sikh whose religious rights have been denied’ in public places, schools or the workplace.
 
UNITED SIKHS has launched the Right To Turban Fund which will not only meet the costs of advocacy in France but in any country where Sikh religious rights need to be defended.
 
In order to manage the RTT Fund an international firm of auditors will be instructed to ensure that all receipts and payments are audited and displayed periodically on the UNITED SIKHS website.
 
Useful Links to the UNITED SIKHS RTT campaign:
 
To Donate click here  
 
To Join the RTT Fundraising Team click here
 
To Read the RTT Campaign Timelines click here

To Read All the RTT Press Releases click here
 
To Read about French Sikh History click here

Click here to read the latest developments


UNITED SIKHS & FRENCH TURBAN ACTION COMMITTEE RIGHT TO TURBAN CAMPAIGN TIME LINES

18 Dec 2003 , Thursday

  • President Chirac Announces Plans to Table a Law That Will Ban the Turban…

 French President Jacques Chirac proposes a law to ban religious signs in schools…

Click here for more details

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23 Dec 2003 , Tuesday

 UNITED SIKHS launches a petition highlighting the effect of the proposed ban on freedom of conscience; the right to practice one’s religion & right to education. Sikhs say that wearing a Turban is not optional but a mandatory requirement of the Sikh faith…

To read Online Petition, click on the link below…

(http://www.PetitionOnline.com/sikh5555/petit ion.html)

To view the list of organisations that co-sponsored the petition, click here

Click here for more details

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15 Jan 2004 , Thursday

  • Members of Sikh, Jewish and Muslim Communities Join Hands to Support the UNITED SIKHS’ RTT campaign

Members from all of the above communities join hands to support UNITED SIKHS’ campaign against French President Jacques Chirac’s proposed Law to ban the wearing of articles of Faith, Religion & Ethnic identity at public schools and workplaces.

Click here for more details

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18 Jan 2004 , Sunday

  • President Chirac Tabled a Law to Ban the Wearing of Religious Articles in Public Schools

 French President Jacques Chirac moves to ban the wearing of articles of faith in public schools throughout France .

UNITED SIKHS Calls on the People of the world, human rights are at stake. 

The time for action is now!

Click here for more details

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18 Jan 2004 , Sunday

  • UNITED SIKHS Leads a Delegation to Meet Special Advisor to the French Ambassador in London

 UNITED SIKHS submits a petition to the UK French ambassador in a show of support from the worldwide community to protect and preserve the dignity and liberty of the French people.

Click here for more details

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19 Jan 2004 , Monday

  • French Government is Determined to go Ahead with the Ban of Ostensible Religious Symbols in Schools

 The French Government is determined to implement the proposed Law which will ban the wearing of ‘Ostensible’ Religious symbols by the beginning of new session in the public schools

 19 Jan 2004 , Monday

  • Meeting with Ministers:

 A UNITED SIKHS led delegation meets French diplomats…

Click here for more details

Click here for why Sikhs wear Turbans

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21 Jan 2004

  • Letter Writing Campaign to Elected Representatives

UNITED SIKHS launches an online letter writing campaign to call on UK Members of Parliament to support EDM 461 for an Early Day Motion, and US congressmen and Canadian MPs to support a resolution to express regret at French President Jacques Chirac’s decision to ban the wearing of articles of faith, religion and ethnic identity at public schools and to stop the violation of fundamental rights of all religions.

Click here for more details

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31 Jan 2004 , Saturday

  • Rally in France

UNITED SIKHS and Sikhs around the world attend a Rally in Paris against the Turban ban

“Join the Sikh March in Paris

Stop the ban against wearing of Turban in France !

Click here for more details

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6 Feb 2004 , Friday

  • US Congressman Honda’s Office Circulates a Letter opposing the Ban to Members of the U.S. House of Representatives

 UNITED SIKHS works with Congressman Mike Honda on a letter that his office is sending to the French Government which expresses the United States ’ concern over the proposed French Ban on Articles of Faith in public schools…

6 Feb 2004 , Friday

  • Members of the U.S. House of Representatives Signed Congressman Honda’s Letter

 42 members of the U.S. House of Representatives sign Congressman Mike Honda’s letter…

Click here for more details

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10 Feb 2004 , Tuesday

  • UNITED SIKHS along with Congressman Sherman Introduced House Resolution 528

 UNITED SIKHS works with Congressman Brad Sherman to introduce House Resolution 528 that calls on the French Government to “modify or abandon its ban on wearing of (Ostensible articles) religious articles and symbols in state schools.”

Click here for more details

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12 Feb 2004 , Thursday

  • Petition with 100,000 signatures submitted by UNITED SIKHS and Akal Purakh Ki Fauj to French Ambassador in Delhi

 UNITED SIKHS Director Jaspal Singh, Human Rights Advocate H S Phoolka, Anup Singh and a representative of Akal Purkah Ki Fauj’s Jaswinder Singh were part of the delegation that called on the French Ambassador. Leaders of several Sikh organisations submitted to the French Ambassador an appeal signed by 100,000 people to oppose the proposed ban on religious signs in public schools.

Click here for more details

Press News Click here for more details

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12 Feb 2004 , Thursday

  • French Foreign Minister (Dominique De Villepin) reassures Sikhs at a Delhi Press Conference

 Dominique de Villepin on meetings with Sikhs:

“During the last month they have been received as a delegation in our Ministry of Education, two times, and the Minister for Education, Luc Ferry, to whom I have been talking before coming here to India , told me that he was going to meet again the delegation of the Sikh community, in the next days in Paris . And I am going to meet in a couple of hours with the Chairman of the Minorities here in India , to discuss this matter. But of course we are going to see the best way to answer to this question and to show the necessary respect which we have of course, for this community, but taking into account what are the constraints of our situation in France, and I am convinced that we are going to find a way which would be satisfactory for the Sikh community in France.”

Click here for more details

BBC NEWS | South Asia | France raises Sikh turban hopes

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16 Feb 2004 , Monday

  • French Consul General ( Atlanta ) Rene- Serge Marty says,

“You are not you, if you don’t have the Turban”

 A delegation of concerned Sikhs, led by Kuldip Singh, Director of UNITED SIKHS, met with the Consul General of France, Rene Serge Marty on Feb13, 2004 to express their concern on the proposed ban on Articles of faith in France …

Click here for more details

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21 Feb 2004 , Saturday

  • Rally in London

“Sikhs Protest in KnightsBridge”

Thousands of Sikhs in London protest against the Turban ban in KnightsBridge…

Click here for more details

UNITED SIKHS | www.unitedsikhs.org | - news & info

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15 Marh 2004, Tuesday

  • French Parliament Passed the Law Against the Wearing of the Turban in Schools

The French Parliament passed the law that bans the wearing of Articles of Faith in public schools… Click here for more details

Article 1

Il est inséré, dans le code de l'éducation, après l'article L. 141-5, un article L. 141-5-1 ainsi rédigé :

« Art. L. 141-5-1. - Dans les écoles, les collèges et les lycées publics, le port de signes ou tenues par lesquels les élèves manifestent ostensiblement une appartenance religieuse est interdit.

Le règlement intérieur rappelle que la mise en oeuvre d'une procédure disciplinaire est précédée d'un dialogue avec l'élève. »

TRANSLATION

Article 1 :

A new article, number L141-5-1, is incorporated in the Code of Education, with the following words:

“Art. L. 141-5-1. – In primary schools, schools and high schools, the wearingof a sign or dress by which the students reveal ostentatiously a religious affiliation, is forbidden.

The school internal rules remind that the starting of a disciplinary proceeding is preceded by a discussion with the student”

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28 March 2004

  • Letter Writing Campaign to Elected Representatives

UNITED SIKHS launched an online letter writing campaign to call on UK MPs to support EDM 461 for an Early Day Motion, and to US congressmen and Canadian MPs to support a resolution to express regret at French President Jacques Chirac’s decision to ban the wearing of articles of faith, religion and ethnic identity at public schools and to stop the violation of fundamental rights of all religions.

Click here for more details

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17 May 2004, Monday

  • French Prime Minister gave a Conditional Assurance for wearing Turban in Public schools

 The French Prime Minister has given a Conditional Assurance to the Sikh community that French Sikh school children will not be banned from wearing their Turban in public schools, when the new school year begins in September…

Click here for more details

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1 June 2004, Tuesday

  • French Government Retracts its Recent Statement on Hairnet

 The French Government retracts its recent statement that Sikh school children will be required to wear hairnets instead of Turban in public schools, saying that there has been a misunderstanding…

Click here for more details

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29 June 2004

  • Leyla Sahin (Turkish Hijab) Case Lost in the European Court of Human Rights (Ect HR)

 Miss Sahin further complained of a violation of Article 14, taken together with Article 9, arguing that the prohibition on wearing the Islamic headscarf obliged students to choose between education and religion and discriminated between believers and non-believers. Lastly, she relied on Articles 8 and 10.

The applicant complained under Article 9 of the Convention that she had been prohibited from wearing the Islamic headscarf at university. She also complained of an unjustified interference with her right to education, within the meaning of Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention.

Click here for more details

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 1 July 2004 ,

  • Sikh Nation Organisation Petitions the United Nations

The issue was reported to the United Nation by the Sikh Nation Organisation (SNO), led by Dr Manjit Singh Randhawa.

Dr Randhawa while giving details of the case said the UN admitted the petition of the SNO under UN 1503 procedure, filed on March 17, 2004 against the French Government, for violating human rights of schoolchildren by enacting the scarf ban law through which “signs and dress, which conspicuously show religious affiliations are forbidden, in public schools of France .

Click here for more details

Click here for press report

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5 Aug 2004 , Thursday

  • French Sikhs Seek Meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Turban Issue…

Sikhs in France have sought an urgent meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh regarding their dispute with the French Government over the Turban Ban…

Click here for more details

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9 Aug 2004 ,

  • Letter to UNICEF - Stop France From Forcing Children to Break the Law Next Month

The Convention on the Rights of the Child ( CRC ) is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world which encompasses civil rights and freedoms, family environment, basic health and welfare, education, leisure and cultural activities and special protection measures. The very “foundation principal” that underpins the rights of the children is going to be violated in under 3 weeks. The best interests of the child; right to survival and development are at stake.

Click here for more details

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26 Aug 2004 , Thursday

  • French Sikh School Boy Will Defy Law and Wear his Turban to School

 UNICEF will meet UNITED SIKHS to discuss this issue. Of Jasvir Singh from Bobigny, Paris, a 15 year old French Sikh school boy, who told UNITED SIKHS that he will defy the ban and wear the Turban to school as he can defy the Law of land and not his Faith…

Click here for more details

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5 Sep 2004 , Sunday

  • French Turban Ban Law Implemented in the Beginning of a New Session, when Schools Reopened

 French schools stop Turban-wearing boys from entering school.

Jasvir Singh, a 15 year old Sikh school boy, was not allowed to enter into the classroom when he marched into the school wearing his turban in the beginning of the new session…

Click here for more details

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8 Sep 2004 , Wednesday

  • French Sikhs to Sue their Government over the Ban on Wearing Turban

 The French Sikhs community decided last night to take legal action against their Government for banning Sikh school children from wearing the Turban to public schools…

Click here for more details

Click here for news

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21 Sep 2004 , Tuesday

  • France Schools Refuse Sikh School Children Entry into Classrooms…

 Jasvir Singh (15 year old), Bikramjit Singh (15 year old) and Ranjit Singh (17 year old) were not allowed to enter into the classroom because they refused to remove their turbans in school

Click here for more details

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26 Sep 2004 , Thursday

  • PM’s claim on Turban Row an Eyewash

Former SGPC president and a co-opted SGPC member Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar Prof today said that PM Dr Manmohan Singh’s claim that the turban now in France was resolved was an eye wash. The PM had made his claim in New York yesterday.

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26 Sep 2004 , Thursday

  • UNITED SIKHS Rally Outside the UN Headquarters

UNITED SIKHS led a rally outside the United Nations head quarters on Sept 23 to protest against the French ban on the Sikh Turban…

Click here for more details

UNITED SIKHS in the news

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28 Sep 2004 , Tuesday

  • French Turban Issue not Resolved…

 In response to the statement faxed by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the French Sikh community faxed a statement to UNITED SIKHS,

stating that they have not received any communication from the French government on the resolution of this issue…

Click here for more details

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14 Oct 2004 , Thursday

  • DSGMC joins hands with UNITED SIKHS to Support Legal Action Taken by French Sikhs for their Fight against Turban Ban

 Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee has joined hands with UNITED SIKHS’ legal team to assist French Sikhs fight their case against the Turban Ban Law.

Click here for more details

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20 Oct 2004 , Wednesday

  • Kudrat Singh, of UNITED SIKHS, Outside Cergy Pontoise Courtroom

The court examined the case of three Sikh schoolchildren who risk expulsion from their school for wearing their turban…

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Oct 2004 ,

  • UNITED SIKHS Goes to Educational Tribunal…

In Sep2004, 3 Sikh students- Jasvir Singh, Bikramjit Singh & Ranjit Singh were expelled from attending the school without a hearing being held. In Oct2004, they were forced to go to the Administrative Tribunal to decide if they would be readmitted or stay expelled from the Louise Michel School in Bobigny, suburb of Paris …

21 Oct 2004 , Thursday

  • UNITED SIKHS Director: Sikhs will break, but they will not bend…

 As the Sikh boys faced icy atmosphere of the courtroom on Tuesday, the French Education Minister Francois Fillon said on French radio,

“The Sikhs will have to bend before the Law”

In response to his statement, Mr. Kudrat Singh, UNITED SIKHS Director in France said,

“The Sikhs will break, but they will not bend”

Click here for more details

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Oct 2004,

  • UNITED SIKHS Mounts Legal Challenge Against Expulsion of the 3 French Sikh school boys

 UNITED SIKHS went to the court for a decision on the ongoing expulsion of the Sikh school boys from the classroom…

22 Oct 2004 , Friday

  • Court Ruled that the School and Education Dept. Acted Illegally…

Court ruled that the school and the Education department both acted illegally, Human Rights being violated by not allowing boys to attend classes…

Oct 2004,

  • Court Ordered School to hold a Disciplinary Hearing to Find a Solution

 French Court gave school 15 days to grant Sikh school boys a right to hearing by ordering the school to form a disciplinary committee to decide within 15 days, if it will admit or expel the French Sikh school boys…

Click here for more details

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Oct 2004,

  • UNITED SIKHS and French Turban Action Committee Engages Legal Counsel, who files a petition in the Administrative Tribunal…

4 Nov 2004 , Thursday

  • Helsinki Commission to Investigate the French Turban Ban on the Recommendation of UNITED SIKHS

 UNITED SIKHS is pleased to announce that the United States Helsinki Commission, an independent federal agency that monitors and encourages the implementation of Helsinki Provisions, has urged the French Government to “rethink” its law which bans the wearing of ostensible religious signs to public schools and “make reasonable accommodations” for students who wear ostensible religious signs. Earlier this year, the French Government passed a law that bans the wearing of ostensible religious signs to public schools and requires a school to give the student a hearing before expelling him for wearing the religious signs

Click here for more details

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6 Nov 2004 , Saturday

  • Education Tribunal Holds a Disciplinary Hearing…

 Education Tribunal holds a disciplinary hearing and upholds the decision of the school to expel the boys from the school and the boys were expelled. The Appeal tribunal confirmed this expulsion…

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7 Nov 2004 , Sunday

  • Call to Sikhs to Rally Around French Sikhs

Sikhs in the Capital today decided to press upon the international community and urged Sikhs all over the world to join hands to fight for the “just cause of French Sikhs”. …

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Nov 2004

  • French Sikh Delegation goes to India and Meets Officials

In Nov2004, a delegation of French Sikhs including M Gurdial Singh father of expelled schoolboy Jasvir Singh and M Kudrat Singh, Director of UNITED SIKHS, went to India for a fortnight to inform officials about the situation they were facing in France .

They met (chronologically)

Then General Secretary of India Communist Party (Mr Harkishan Singh Surjeet,)

Mrs Sonia Gandhi President of Congress Party

Representatives of DSGMC and other Sikh bodies in New Delhi

Mr Abdul Kalam president of Republic of India

Assistant of Foreign Minister in charge of that file

Chief Minister of Punjab

President of SGPC Bibi Jagir Kaur and members of SGPC in Amritsar

A Number of MP’s and former ministers.

Dec 2004

  • Private Schools Refuse to Accept Expelled Sikh School Boys…

 Dec 2004

  • UNITED SIKHS & French Turban Action Committee Unsuccessful in Placing Expelled French Sikh Schoolboys in Private Schools…

 … unsuccessful in obtaining a place for them in any private schools. The 3 expelled Sikh school boys stay at home for self studies…

Dec 2004

  • UNITED SIKHS legal team & French Turban Action Committee A ppoint Lawyers to Sue the French Government…

 

UNITED SIKHS along with the French Action Turban Committee appoint lawyers to sue the French Government for the expulsion of three Sikh school boys for wearing a Turban, a Sikh Article of Faith…

Dec 2004

  • 'EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights', Report Expresses Concern on French Ban Law

 The 'EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights', compiled a report for France 2004 which stated amongst other things ‘that the law will have counter effects and produce exclusion instead of assimilation.

Click here for more details

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 Jan 2005

  • UNITED SIKHS Legal Team Assists French Lawyers in Filing Law Suit in Administrative Court…

 French lawyers files (Petition) Law suit in the Administrative Court- Melun being assisted by UNITED SIKHS legal team against the expulsion of 3 Sikh school boys…

14 Feb 2005 , Monday

TURBAN PHOTO ID CASE BEGINS

  • French Court : Not Illegal to Ask Sikh to Remove his Turban for his Drivers License Photo

A French administrative court ruled today that it was not illegal to ask a Sikh to take off his Turban for taking a photo for his driver’s license. The decision follows an emergency hearing at the…

Click here for more details

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21 Feb 2005 , Saturday

  • UNITED SIKHS supports the European Parliament 'Written Declaration on Religious Rights and Freedoms in France and throughout the European Union’ T abled by F ive Cross-Party Members (MEPs).

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.

UNITED SIKHS 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. Click here.

Click here for the campaign details

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 23 Feb 2005 , Wednesday

  • MEPs Pave the Way for Debate on Religious Freedoms and Rights in European Parliament

London Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have paved the way for a debate in the European Parliament on the French ban on religious signs in schools by launching a…

Click here for more details

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23 Feb 2005 , Wednesday

  • Religious Rights and Freedoms in France and Throughout the EU

Conservative MEP Philip Bushill-Matthews is co-author of a Written Declaration calling on the European Parliament to support religious rights and freedoms in France and throughout the EU, including the right to wear the…

Click here for more details

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28 Mar 2005 , Monday

  • Victim of French Ban on Turban Seeks Help from Sikhs

Jasvir Singh, a Sikh student who was expelled from a public school in France for wearing turban, his mother Surjit Kaur and his brother Karamvir Singh have come to Punjab to seek help of Sikh politicians and religious leaders…

Click here for more details

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9 Apr 2005 , Saturday

  • UNITED SIKHS Appeals to Sikhs to Produce their Passports as Exhibits Showing them Wearing their Turbans


Lawyers defending a French Sikh's right to wear a Turban for his driver's license photo have made an urgent request to Turbaned Sikhs who are European Union (EU) nationals for evidence that they…

Click here for more details

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10 Apr 2005 , Sunday

  • Report: Affect of Law on French Sikh School boys

 UNITED SIKHS conducted a survey as to how the French ban Law has affected the Sikh students for 1 year. More than 80% of the students interviewed by UNITED SIKHS were not allowed wearing head covers of their choice. None were allowed to wear Turban & some of them wore hanker-chief.

Click here for more details

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19 Apr 2005 , Tuesday

  • Hearing date in Administrative Court

 The 3 expelled French Sikh school boys lose their case in the Administrative Court which ruled that the Turban Ban was legal as the Turban made them instantly recognisable as Sikhs…

Click here for more detailsClick here for news

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26 Apr 2005

  • UNITED SIKHS Met with Helsinki Commission

UNITED SIKHS along with Voices of Freedom and Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar met with Helsinki Commission, Congressional Working Group on Religious Freedom, United State Commission on Religious Freedom, Heritage Foundation to discuss the implications and cases regarding French ban on wearing articles of faith on.

Click here for more details

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1st May 2005 ,

  • UNITED SIKHS - Lobby your MEPs in Strasbourg on 11th May

Sikhs—children, men and women, were 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 sign the 'Written Declaration on Religious Rights and Freedoms in France and throughout the European Union'.

Click here for more details

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16 May 2005, Monday

  • UNITED SIKHS Highlights Sikh Turban Rights at Sikh Day Parade in New York

A sea of Turbans and scarves processed down the streets of Manhattan as 20,000 Sikhs from the tri-state area followed colourful floats in the 18th annual Sikh Day Parade on April 30, 2005 …

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17 May 2005, Tuesday

  • Right to Turban Advocacy Continues in Full Vigour

A delegation comprising members UNITED SIKHS and the French Action Committee for the Turban had a hectic schedule last week meeting the French government and lawyers for the…

Click here for more details

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17 May 2005, Tuesday

  • UNITED SIKHS met with Helsinki Commission Representative (Knox Thames ) in France

UNITED SIKHS made arrangements for a Helsinki Commission representative (Knox Thames) to meet the three French Sikh Students and their attorney in France at U.S. embassy in France .

Click here for more details

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June 2005,

  • 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

 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.

Click here for the submitted petition

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4 Jun 2005 , Saturday

  • French Sikh Turban Issue Raised at UNESCO Conference

A delegation of French Sikhs led by UNITED SIKHS’ multifaith director, Jasbeer Kaur, raised the profile of the Turban issue at an international UNESCO conference on Religions for Peace on 1st June 2005 , which was…

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27 Jun 2005 , Monday

  • UNITED SIKHS Appeals to Americans to Call their Senators to Sign a Letter to the French President for Right to Turban

UNITED SIKHS is working with Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania to secure the support of the United States Senate to sign a letter to the French President expressing concern over the French ban on articles of… Click here for more details

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Jul 2005

  • French Lawyers again file appeal in the Administrative Appeal Court against Lower courts decision…

6 Jul 2005 , Wednesday

  • UNITED SIKHS writes to the French Parliament Ahead of a Review of the Ban Law ….

UNITED SIKHS has submitted to the President of the French National Assembly, Jean-Louis Debré, its representations to the Law Review Commission which will shortly review the law which banned the wearing of articles of faith, including the Sikh turban in schools.

Click her e for more details

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Jul 2005

  • French Sikh Schoolboys Lose Hearing at Administrative Appeal Court

The 3 Sikh school boys lose their case in Administrative Appeal Court …

Jul 2005

  • UNITED SIKHS Addresses the US Congressional Working Group

 UNITED SIKHS addresses the US Congressional Working Group on Religious Freedom about the implications and cases regarding French ban on wearing articles of faith.

2nd Aug 2005

  • UNITED SIKHS along with three U.S. Senators Write to the French Assembly

UNITED SIKHS along with three U.S. Senators write a letter to the French Assembly President to ask the French Government to reconsider and provide more flexibility in the application of the French Ban.

Sep 2005

  • The 3 Sikh Schoolboys Offered a Place in a Bobigny based Catholic School, After Missing out on One Year of Schooling…

 The three French Sikh expelled school boys parents receive a telephone call from Catholic school in Bobigny, who earlier refused to admit them in the academic year starting Sep2004. Boys resumed their studies after losing One year…

Click here for more details

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9 Sep 2005 , Thursday

  • Gurinder Singh, Another French Sikh Student, faces Expulsion Due to Turban Ban Law…

Gurinder Singh, a 17 year old school boy, joins Jasvir Singh, Bikramjit Singh & Ranjit Singh, to become the fourth French Sikh school boy who is not allowed to enter into the classroom as had earlier been experienced by 3 Sikh school boys, year before…

Click here for more details

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Sep 2005

  • UNITED SIKHS & French Turban Action Committee (FTAC) enters into discussion with Education Dept…

 UNITED SIKHS & French Turban Action Committee enters into discussion with the Education department with no result…

Sep 2005

  • French Law Commission Fails to Conduct Mandatory Review of Ban Law…

One year after the French Ban Law came into force, the French Law commission failed to conduct the review of law, even though the review was mandatory.

UNITED SIKHS has written twice to the President of French Parliament M Jean Louis Debré to lets the French MPs acknowledge the conclusions of UNITED SIKHS. M JL Debré has answered to both letters stating the information and requests had been transmitted to the President of the concerned parliamentary commission.

Sep 2005

  • UNITED SIKHS Decides to File an Appeal …

 French Lawyers, in consultation with UNITED SIKHS’ legal team decides to take the cases to the Conseil d’Etat, the highest administrative body of the country and a High Court lawyer is hired.

Sep 2005

  • UNITED SIKHS meets Asma Jahangir, Special UN Rapporteur on Freedom of Religions during her mission in France

 During her mission in France from Spetember 18th to 29th, Mrs Asma Jahangir, UNCHR Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religions asked to meet representatives of French Sikhs. M Gurdial Singh and M Kudrat Singh of UNITED SIKHS answered the invitation and attended the meeting which lasted more than one hour in a friendly atmosphere. They explained the situation the Sikhs were facing in France due to the policy of the French government

The report of A .Jahangir is included here mentions clearly that the Sikhs forms a “religious minority” which has been “seriously affected” by the ban.

Click here for more details  

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29 Oct 2005 , Saturday

  • French Envoy: Religion is a Private Matter

A dozen turbaned Sikh men and women from the San Francisco Bay Area and Stanford alumni heard the French Ambassador to the United States, Jean-David Levitte justify the French Turban ban to a public gathering on…

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Nov 2005,

  • UNITED SIKHS Petition to European Parliament Admitted …

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.‘

A UNITED SIKHS member had 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…

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5 Dec 2005 , Monday

  • French Sikh Wins Right to Wear Turban in Photo ID

The French Supreme Court, the Conseil d'Etat, ruled today that a French Sikh has a right to wear his Turban for his driver's license photo. The court ordered that Shingara Singh Mann be given his…

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6 Dec 2005 , Tuesday

  • French Government Issues Circular Effectively Overturning Earlier Supreme Court Decision

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11 Dec 2005 , Tuesday

  • Sikh caught in legal bind over his turban - Transport Ministry changed its order

A Sikh who won the right to wear his turban for his drivers licence identity photo only to see that right withdrawn a day later will pursue his battle to find out if “one can be both Sikh and French,” said Kudrat Singh, UNITED SIKHS-fr president and spokesman for the French Sikh community.

The following day, the Transport Ministry changed its order, specifically saying that the Interior Ministry ban was applicable on drivers' licences. The move meant that Shingara Mann Singh, once more, could not receive his licence as long as he wore a turban for the photo

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14 Dec 2005

  • UNITED SIKHS met with U.S. State Department Representatives

UNITED SIKHS met with U.S. State Department Representatives to update them on the current affairs and cases (students and driver’s license) in France .

Dec 2005

  • Gurinder Singh, Fourth French Sikh Schoolboy is Expelled from School…

Gurinder Singh, a 17 year old school boy, is finally expelled from the school and his expulsion is confirmed by Education Appeal Tribunal…

Dec 2005

  • Gurinder Singh is Not Offered a Place in Any of the Private Schools…

Gurinder Singh, unlike Jasvir, Bikramjit & Ranjit, is not offered any place in any of the private schools. Gurinder Singh continues to be without education till date…

Dec 2005

  • French Schoolboys Appeal Filed in the French Supreme Court (Conseil d’Etat…)

5 Jan 2006 , Thursday

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 21 Feb 2006 , Tuesday

  • France will respect sentiments of Sikhs: Chirac

 French President Jacques Chirac has said his country may allow Sikh students to wear a ‘patka’ (scarf) instead of turban' in educational institutions and added their sentiments would be respected.

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‘Promises but no Action or False Promises’

Situation is still the same.

2 Mar 2006 , Wednesday

  • UNITED SIKHS sues French Government over Turban Ban in Photo ID Case

The French Supreme Court will consider today if UNITED SIKHS and Shingara Mann Singh should be allowed to challenge a government circular against the ban on wearing a Turban for a driver’s licence photo.

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7 Mar 2006 , Tuesday

  • French Tribunal Rules Against Sikh Turbans in Driver's License Photos

The French Conseil d'Etat [official website], the country's highest administrative tribunal, held [decision, in French] Monday that Sikhs have to remove their turbans....

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24 March 2006, Friday

  • SGPC Asks Indian PM to Approach France on Turban Issue

The Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the body that controls the management of Sikh gurdwaras and serves as the spiritual and temporal seat of the Sikh community....

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27 April 2006 , Thursday

  • Complaints filed to the European Commission and the French High Authority Against Discrimination and for Equality (HALDE)
UNITED SIKHS-France filed a case for the violation of Community Law with the European Commission and a case for discrimination with the HALDE (the French anti –discrimination authority) about all the cases that are now in the French Court . Both the HALDE and the European Commission has said that they have opened an inquiry into the complaints.

10 th May 2006

  • The Conseil D’etat ( French Supreme Court) admitted the three French Sikh schoolboys appeal case. 

23 May 2006, Tuesday

  • Gurinder Singh’s (Fourth French Schoolboy) Hearing in the Administrative Court

The fourth French-Sikh Schoolboy, Gurinder Singh, attended the Administrative Court regarding his expulsion from his school because of his turban.

The judgment is expected in June 2006.

Click here for more details LINKS TO: http://www.unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-09-09-2005-00.htm

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6 June 2006 , Tuesday

  • Hearing of Shingara Singh Mann’s Passport Case

Shingara Singh Mann was told he could only be issued with a passport if he took he took his turban off for the photograph.

The case was heard in the Administrative Courts and the Judgment is expected in July 2006.

7th June 2006 , Wednesday

  • Judgment in the Gurinder Singh’s case regarding turban ban in school

The case was fought on grounds of right to maiifest one’s religion as provided by article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights.and the right not to be discriminated against based on one’s ethnicity. It was lost in the administrative court and it will be appealed. The court held that:

“Considering the importance given to upholding secularist principles in French government primary and secondary schools, the action taken against a student who disobeys the legal ban on display of overt religious symbols does not signify curbing on freedom of thought, observance and religion. By enforcing the contested decision, the superintendent of the Creteil school academy has adhered to article 9 of the European convention on Human Rights;

The disciplinary action being contested constitutes the application of a general rule, and cannot be viewed as a measure of discriminatory nature, based upon “a belonging real or supposed to any ethnic group or a race” as forbidden by article 19 of the 30 th December 2004 French law which prohibits discrimination on grounds of ethnicity.”

Click here for more details LINKS TO: http://www.unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-09-09-2005-00.htm

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12 June 2006

  • Appointment of French Supreme Court Reporter in Driver’s License Case

Mr Rossi has been appointed as ‘judge reporter ‘ to provide legal reports for the Commissaire du Gouvernment (examining magistrate) to the Conseil d’etat ( French supreme court) for the substantive case involving the challenge by UNITED SIKHS and Shingara Singh to the circular that banned the wearing of the turban for a driver’s licence photograph.

22 June 2006 , Thursday

  • Administrative Court hearing for 69 year old Ranjit Singh, a political refugee in France , whose renewal of his Resident Card has been rejected because he refused to remove his turban for his Resident Card photo

The French Turban Action Committee and UNITED SIKHS are managing his legal case. Ranjit Singh suffers from health problems and without his Resident Card, he has lost all rights to medical aid and social welfare. Awaiting judgment expected in July.

29 June 2006 , Thursday

  • Judgment in Shingara Singh Mann’s Passport Case

The case was lost in the administrative court because the court held that the requirement to remove the turban for the passport photograph was not a ‘disproportionate requirement’. However, the court for the first time acknowledged that the wearing of the Turban was inherent to the cultural and ethnical identity of the (Sikh) community”. The government lawyer had argued:

  • The requirement of an identity photograph with bare head for the issuance of a passport is a necessary restriction and proportionate with that of religious freedom, as has been judged already for the wearing of the veil or the Muslim scarf regarding to identity photograph for the issuance of a national ID card.
  • Sikhs do not form an ethnic group, their historical origins being too recent;
  • The decision to refuse the passport does not discriminate against Sikhs;
  • The claimant does not enjoy any appreciable difference in position
  • The removal of the turban is temporary only- limited to the time of taking the photograph and not in public;
 

July 2006,
         Appeal filed for French Sikh schoolboy Gurinder Singh in the Administrative Appeal Court

24 August 2006,
        Appeal filed in Shingara Singh’s Passport Case in the Administrative Appeal Court

September 2006
        Appeal filed for Baba Ranjit Singh Resident’s Card Appeal

4 September 2006, Monday
        French Schools Re-Open with Further Problems for Sikh School Children

Four teenagers between 16 and 17 years of age and two boys between the ages of 10 and 12 years were greeted with hostility at their schools today because of their refusal to take off their head coverings at the start of the new French school year.

In situations which shows the problem of wearing their turbans in schools is far from resolved for French-Sikh school children, the younger boys were told by their school principal that they were to remove their rimal (kerchief on their top-knot) and cut their hair. UNITED SIKHS and the French Turban Action Committee wrote to the administration of the school and Kudrat Singh, UNITED SIKHS-France Director, went with the parents of the children to meet with school officials. The school administration eventually gave in and allowed the boys to wear their rimals.

The four older boys were refused education by their schools because of their refusal to remove their keskis (smaller turban). These boys are looking for alternative schools to continue their education.

July 2006

Þ Appeal filed for French Sikh schoolboy Gurinder Singh in the

Administrative Appeal Court

 

24 August 2006 , Thursday

Þ Appeal filed in Shingara Singh's Passport Case in the Administrative Appeal Court

 

September 2006

Þ Appeal filed for Baba Ranjit Singh Resident's Card in the Administrative Appeal Court

 

4 September 2006 , Monday

Þ French Schools Re-Open with Further Problems for Sikh School

Children

Four teenagers between 16 and 17 years of age and two boys between the

ages of 10 and 12 years were greeted with hostility at their schools today

because of their refusal to take off their head coverings at the start of the

new French school year.

In situations which shows the problem of wearing their turbans in schools

is far from resolved for French-Sikh school children, the younger boys

were told by their school principal that they were to remove their rimal

(kerchief on their top-knot) and cut their hair. UNITED SIKHS and the

French Turban Action Committee wrote to the administration of the

school and Kudrat Singh, UNITED SIKHS- France Director, went with

the parents of the children to meet with school officials. The school

administration eventually gave in and allowed the boys to wear their rimals.

The four older boys were refused education by their schools because of

their refusal to remove their keskis (smaller turban). These boys are

looking for alternative schools to continue their education.

 

15 September 2006 , Friday

•  France Isolates Sikh Students Over Turban

The debate over the ban on wearing of religious symbols in state-run schools continues in France ...

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18 November 2006 , Saturday

•  French Turban Campaign Continues in Earnest as More Sikh Students Face Expulsion…

Disciplinary Hearing Next week for One of the French Sikh Schoolboys who Refused to Remove his Turban

The UNITED SIKHS legal team met in London last week to discuss its strategy for appealing French Turban ban cases to the International courts

Paris , France : Jasmeet Singh, one of four French-Sikh schoolboys excluded from school in September for refusing to remove their Turbans, will face a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday 21st November…

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24 November 2006 , Friday

•  BOBIGNY (AFP) – A Sikh student expelled from a high school in Seine-Saint-Denis because of his turban

A young 16 year-old Sikh boy was permanently expelled on Tuesday evening from the vocational high school Claude-Nicolas-Ledoux at Pavillons-sous-Bois in Seine-Saint-Denis.

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December 2006

•  Shingara Singh loses his substantive challenge…

Shingara Singh loses his substantive challenge in the conseil d'etat of the transport dept's circular banning the turban on the driving license

 

December 2006

•  Shingara Singh wins his substantive driving license cases (1and 2)… 

Shingara Singh wins his substantive driving license cases (1and 2)  when the court ordered that since the transport department's circular had not yet been officially published,  he should be issued a replacement driving license by Feb 13 th 2007

January 2007

•  School boy Jasmeet Singh's case was filed in the administrative court following his expulsion in Dec 2006

 

February 2007

•  UNITED SIKHS wrote to Maha Singh's school which has refused to admit him…

Maha Singh continues to be without an education as no school is willing to admit him.

2 February 2007 , Friday

•  The French government appealed the administrative court judgment ...

The French government appealed the administrative court judgment that ordered that Shingara Singh should be issued a driving licence by Feb 13 th with his photo showing him with a Turban

18 April 2007 , Wednesday

•  UNITED SIKHS wrote to the administrative court…

UNITED SIKHS wrote to the Administrative Court seeking enforcement of the judgment in favour of issuing a driving licence to Shingara Singh

10 May 2007, Thursday

•  Appeal hearing in the Ranjit Singh's residence card case

24 May 2007, Thursday

•  Admin appeal court dismissed Ranjit Singh's appeal

June 2007 , Saturday

•  Sikhs to take French turban ban to European human rights court

On 11th June 2007 , UNITED SIKHS lawyers will file a legal challenge to the French law banning the wearing of the turban on ID document photos. The case, before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg , will be the first such case against France since it passed a law in March 2004 banning the wearing of religious symbols, including the Sikh turban, in public schools…

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11 June 2007 , Monday

•  Sikhs take French turban ban to European human rights court

European Parliament, Brussels – The first appeal was filed against the French govt in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg after the administrative court refused to enforce its judgment in favour of issuing a driving licence to Shingara Singh .

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5 July 2007 , Thursday

•  Maha Singh's disciplinary hearing upheld his expulsion because he refused to remove his turban to attend school

Maha Singh's disciplinary hearing, in front of the education ministry disciplinary commission, upheld his expulsion because he refused to remove his turban to attend the school.

 

16 August 2007 , Thursday

•  Hasselt magistrates' court heard an application to allow the Belgian Sikh schoolboys…

The Hasselt Magistrates Court heard an application to allow the Belgian Sikh schoolboys to attend school wearing their Turban

 

26 August 2007 , Sunday

•  Turban Controversy - No change in UK laws

The department of transport, UK , has confirmed that there was no change in the existing procedures for screening turban-wearing Sikhs at its airports.

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5 September 2007 , Wednesday

•  Four French Sikh schoolboys refused in class in a high school in Drancy

Four Sikh students (one of them is the youngest son of Chain Singh, member of Gurdwara committee) wearing the under-turban were not allowed in class since the school reopening on 4Sep2007, Tuesday at the Eugène-Delacroix High School at Drancy (Seine-Saint-Denis), the Academy Inspection Office informed us on Wednesday.

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10 th September 2007 ,

•  The Hasselt court in Belgium ruled that it did not have jurisdiction

and that there was no urgency to allow an emergency application . UNITED SIKHS lawyers had made an emergency application to overturn the Belgian school's decision to disallow Belgian Sikh schoolboys to wear their turban to school. Our lawyers have decided not to appeal the decision and to instead apply to expedite the hearing of the substantive case.

 

12 September 2007 ,

•  Four French Sikh schoolboys allowed admission to school if they wear a ‘rumaal' on their top-knot

The Eugène-Delacroix High School at Drancy (Seine-Saint-Denis),has allowed the four Sikh schoolboys to attend school wearing a rumaal (scrunchie) to cover the top knot, leaving the rest of the head bare.

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14 September 2007 ,

•  The US Dept of State issued its International Religious Freedom

Report 2007. It stated that: “ On November 21, 2006, a 16 year old Sikh

appealed his expulsion for refusal to take off his turban. The Association of United Sikhs supported his appeal. Unlike in previous years, there were no reports of Muslim girls being denied admission at the beginning of the autumn term. According to a March 28, 2007, statement by the director of United Sikhs Legal Team for the Right to Turban Campaign, in 2006 the United Sikhs filed a complaint with the European Court of Justice on behalf of all Sikhs whose turban cases were outstanding. In addition, at the end of the reporting period there were two cases awaiting appeal in the courts, one involving the petition of a group of Sikh schoolboys to wear their turbans in school, the other involving the demand of two Sikhs to wear their turbans for their official identification document photographs.” Click here for more details

  October 2007

•  The first appeal against France will be filed on behalf of Shingara Singh and Ranjit Singh with the UN Human Rights Committee.

UNITED SIKHS BLOG - Sikh Identity Issue: Right To Turban in France

There is still no Solution for the Sikhs in France !

Could a Solution be Found Through the Courts with the Support of the Sikh Panth!
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