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Sikh Lobby Day in the UK Parliament:


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Sikh Lobby Day in the UK Parliament:

Wednesday 9 March 2005

Please contact your constituency MPs as soon as possible to inform them that you will be taking part in the Sikh Lobby Day on Wednesday 9 March 2005 and would like your MP to:

- meet you in the Central Lobby of the Houses of Parliament between 1.30-3.00pm

- attend the meeting in Committee Room 10, between 3-5pm, where MPs and Lords will be asked questions on a range of issues of concern to Sikhs

The Sikh Lobby Day is about 2 weeks away - it is best to ring your MPs and make arrangements for them to be available to take part. You can contact your MPs office in Westminster by ringing 020 7219 3000 and asking for your MP.

Alternatively, you can ring the constituency office of your MP to make arrangements, write to your MP at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA or fax your MP using an on-line facility by visiting www.faxyourmp.com

A special appeal is made by Young Sikhs to University Sikh Societies and Sikh University students in and around London to take part in this lobby. The timing of the lobby should be convenient for students who are often free on a Wednesday afternoon. As a student you may have the added advantage of being able to meet two MPs using your home and term time addresses. Also bring along non-Sikh friends who may be interested in joining you at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster and supporting Sikhs.

It is imperative that Sikhs from different towns and cities throughout the UK are represented at the Sikh Lobby Day to try and get the maximum coverage of MPs. This is particularly important prior to the next General Election. You will know there are many local, national and international issues concerning Sikhs that you can raise. Three or four specific issues will be covered by speakers in Committee Room 10 between 3-5pm.

A short briefing note will be available from 3 March 2005 for those attending and can be obtained by emailing:

sikhfederationuk@yahoo.co.uk.

The note will also be distributed on the Sikh Lobby Day to all those taking part.

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  • 2 weeks later...

UK PARLIAMENTARIANS DISCUSS APPLICABILITY OF SELF DETERMINATION FOR THE SIKHS

The Sikh Lobby Day last week was notable in more ways than one. Sikh representatives in the UK took an important step in their modern political history by seriously engaging UK politicians in the subject of self determination for the Sikhs.

A paper titled "Self determination as a human right and its applicability to the Sikhs" was formally released in the UK Parliament in the hope it would open the debate with UK politicians on why Sikhs believe it is legitimate to seek their agreement on the Sikhs right to self determination. Ranjit Singh the co-ordinator of the Human Rights Advisory Group introduced the paper.

Alex Salmond MP, the leader of the Scottish National Party, spoke passionately about the Sikhs fulfilling all conditions required for self determination. He praised the fifteen organisations that contributed and put together the paper, saying it was an excellent reference document for those concerned in understanding the applicability of self determination to the Sikhs. He said he would be making extensive use of the paper as it was one of the best papers he had read for several years.

Parmjit Singh Gill MP, speaking on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, confirmed not only his support, but that of his party for the Sikhs right to self determination. He reminded those gathered that Simon Hughes MP, the President of the Liberal Democrats, had on several occasions expressed his party's full support for the Sikhs right to self determination and his considerable concern about human rights abuses and the treatment of minorities in India, that were touched upon by several speakers at the public meeting.

Lord Ahmed the Labour Peer added his support for not only the Sikhs right to self determination, but for an independent sovereign Sikh State. This was well received by the hundreds of Sikhs that were packed into the Thatcher Room in the Houses of Parliament.

The Green Party were also represented at the public meeting by David Wood a Prospective Parliamentary Candidate in Slough. He wrote to the organisers of the Sikh lobby reminding them that the Green Party in 1989-90 adopted an official resolution and subsequent policy statement endorsing the Sikhs claim to political self determination and expressed concerns about the widespread human rights atrocities by the Indian authorities to crush Sikh political activism. On his advice copies of the self determination report are being sent to the Green Party Chairman, Hugo Charlton QC, a Human Rights barrister, and the two Green MEPs - Jean Lambert and Dr Caroline Lucas. He has already taken steps with them to push the Sikhs right to self determination up the Green Party agenda as well as highlighting to Green Party members the problem Sikhs are facing in India.

A spokesman for the Sikh Federation (UK), the main organisers of the event said: "With the support of the Liberal Democrats, Scottish National Party and Green Party Sikhs are sending a clear message to both the Labour and Conservative parties. There must be an open dialogue with Sikhs on their right to self determination and that the "territorial integrity" of India can not be used as an excuse according to principles that have been established at the UN."

"Politicians that apply the territorial integrity "limitation" to India need to be reminded:

* The limitation only applies where "States conduct themselves in compliance with the principle of equal rights and self-determination" - India opted out of this defence in 1966 when they put down a "reservation" when ratifying the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. India in effect stated in the UN that the right of self determination only applied to people living outside India. France, Germany and the Netherlands objected to the reservation on the grounds self determination must apply to ALL people. The UN has invited India to withdraw this reservation, but India has neglected to respond.

* It is now internationally recognised that any government which is oppressive to peoples within its territory may no longer be able to rely on the ground of ‘territorial integrity’ as a limitation on the right of self-determination.

UK Parliamentarians were also reminded about the past treaties with the Sikhs and due to the unique Anglo-Sikh history the British Government were under a moral obligation to insist, at an international level, that the Sikh people be given the right to self determination.

A PDF version of the "Self determination as a human right and its applicability to the Sikhs" paper can be obtained by visiting http://www.sikhfederation.com

Gurjeet Singh

National Press Secretary

Sikh Federation (UK)

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