UNITED SIKHS extends blessings and good wishes to the community during this auspicious time of Vaisakhi. On this Vaisakhi, we pledge to protect your rights. Whereas we wish prosperity and peace for all on the pious occasion of Vaisakhi, it also serves as reminder of the challenges that the Khalsa Panth faces today.
On this joyous occasion of Vaisakhi, the Sikh community worldwide couldn’t expect news worse than the confirmation of Bhai Davinderpal Bhullar’s death penalty. Commutation of his death sentence to life imprisonment was long pending demand from all sections of the community, and various international organizations. The legislation under which Davinderpal was booked, was so widely criticized as draconian at the international level, that the Indian government eventually repealed it. But, the previous cases brought under it continued to proceed as before.India is not a signatory to the UN resolution banning the death.
France still refuses to not allow students to wear dastaar (turban) in schools and on photo-ids on driving licenses. In September 2013, Belgium Schools will implement the ban of not allowing Sikh kids to wear dastaar (turban) in schools. Quebec has banned allowing Sikhs to wear Kirpans in the Provincial Assembly. Sikhs as minorities in Pakistan and Afghanistan still live under the fear of the Taliban. In the United States, in some state’ courtooms Sikhs are still not allowed to wear their turban (dastaar) and is considered as a “hat”. The Transport Security Administration (TSA) authorities still profiles Sikhs at airports because of the dastaar they wear. Job employment discrimination where Sikhs are asked to remove their turbans or can’t take up the jobs as they are asked to give a sample of cut hair for drug testing. Taxi drivers are harassed for wearing their articles of faith and there are numerous such concerns and issues where we have to advocate, be it in schools, correctional facilities, federal or state buildings, the work of our legal staff continues on. UNITED SIKHS continues to work in these countries to make sure that rights of the Sikhs are protected.
We have also taken the initiative and created “Know Your Rights” guide. This is a comprehensive tool created to educate and empower our community on the laws and their rights. Knowing your rights empowers you as an individual and strengthens your community.
We encourage the Sikh community to vigorously practice their faith and report any issues in their respective areas that burden the ability to practice their faith. Call 1-888-243-1690 or email us to report any concerns.
Whether it is through our annual Global Conference bringing together human and civil rights advocates from around the world or through our Annual Global and Civil Rights Report, we continue to shed light on the most pressing issues of the global Sikh nation, and continue to fight for the free practice of the Sikh faith. Fighting for religious accommodation is a daunting task because of the vagaries of national and international laws, but UNITED SIKHS will continue, nation by nation, to promote and protect Sikh articles of faith and to be able to practise their faith without and fear.
For UNITED SIKHS to continue its efforts (both domestically and internationally), we need your assistance, so please donate. You may donate online or in person to a UNITED SIKHS chapter near you. For details of our chapters, please visit our contact page.