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Global Sikh Civil & Human Rights Report

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Minority communities increasingly face policies that adversely burden external religious identities: Global Sikh Civil & Human Rights Report

UNITED SIKHS Global Sikh Civil & Human Rights Report 2010 released today. Click here to view the report in PDF.

* Sikhs and other minority communities across the world are finding protections steadily declining for freedom of religion, especially with respect to external identity.

* Publication has been timed to release this week to honor the contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the champion of civil rights in the United States

* Look out shortly for news on various events surrounding the release of this report!

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said that "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." UNITED SIKHS announces the 3rd Annual Global Sikh Civil & Human Rights Report, which has been timed for release this week to honor Dr. King who was the champion of the civil rights movement and a hero whose words profoundly resonate amongst the Sikh community.

The ability of the Sikh community to practice its faith freely is a good litmus test of freedom for those that manifest their religious identity. UNITED SIKHS finds in the Global Sikh Civil & Human Rights Report 2010 released today that Sikhs and other minority communities across the world are finding protections steadily declining for freedom of religion, especially with respect to external identity.

The work that UNITED SIKHS does in advocating for vulnerable populations follows our mandate of recognizing the human race as one, laid forth by Guru Gobind Singh Ji in the late 1600s. Centuries later, Dr. King raised his voice in defense of the rights of minority communities in this country, and with the release of this report, we hope to continue in the tradition of these noble defenders of civil and human rights.

This past year, there were several countries in which Sikh community members faced challenges to their civil and human rights with respect to their external religious identity. Some examples of issues addressed within the report are:

* Belgium and other countries maintained policies that did not officially recognize the Sikh religion;

* Sikhs and other religious minorities are still precluded from manifesting their external religious identity in schools in France;

* Racial/ Religious profiling of Sikhs and other minority groups who wear religious head coverings became more extreme in the United States with the implementation of new airport security mechanisms (Advanced Imaging Technology) by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA);

* India's continuing lack of recognition of the Sikh genocide/ crimes against humanity of 1984 and the non-recognition of Sikhism as a distinctive faith (and not a subcategory of Hinduism) remain a pervasive problem;

* This year persecution of religious minorities in Pakistan worsened and directly impacted the Sikh population; Sikh families continue to face persecution and forced conversion. UNITED SIKHS helped one such family relocate to Canada earlier this year.

To publish the Global Sikh Civil & Human Rights Report 2010, UNITED SIKHS' International Civil & Human Rights Advocacy (ICHRA) team has worked tirelessly throughout the year to break the silence against the civil and human rights abuses world-wide.

The Report is a unique publication that has a specific emphasis on the Sikh population combining data from primary and secondary sources from 26 countries around the world.

Contributing authors comprise UNITED SIKHS Staff and members of other NGOs and civil rights organizations, who highlight key issues such as identity, minority rights, government watchlists and profiling related to airport security.

Discussing the process of drafting the report, Legal Fellow Ilana Ofgang observed, "It was interesting to see the many common challenges faced by Sikh communities all over the world. Particularly with respect to challenges faced because of their external identity, Sikhs and other religious minorities worldwide too often share a common experience of inequality. Reports like this seek to correct such social and governmental injustices by educating and creating a resource tool for advocates."

In addition to the legal team, the report is a culmination of efforts of countless volunteers, interns, and community members who participated by filling out surveys, researching country conditions, and sharing stirring personal accounts of their civil and human rights struggles.

The Report is a vital tool for civil and human rights attorneys, asylum seekers, educators, advocates, and people of conscience throughout the world. Recently, the United Nations' General Assembly has cited the 2nd Global Sikh Civil & Human Rights Report in the 15th session of the Human Rights Council's Report of the Special Rapporteur. Additionally, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom used information from 2009 report in their 2010 Annual Religious Freedom Report.

To get a pdf copy of the report, click here. Be on the look out for forthcoming information about release events at which you can obtain a hard copy of the global report.

UNITED SIKHS would like to thank all of you who participated in making this publication possible and would urge you to read this report and share it with others.

Issued by:

Hansdeep Singh

Senior Staff Attorney



Edited by SSingh11
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