September 24, 2015 | By Jasdev Singh Rai
London: Sikh Human Rights group raises France Turban issue in UH Human Rights Council. Related document reads as follows:
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL AGENDA 3 , SEPTEMBER 2015
Chairperson, The Sikh Human Rights Group wishes to draw Human Rights Council’s attention to the continuing degrading treatment of Sikh children in schools in France where the State’s inflexible narrow understanding of secularity continues to violate the dignity and self respect of Sikh children.
The actions and consequences of these policies clearly contradicts the preamble of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Articles 8, Articles 13 .1, all of Article 14 and particularly Article 16 which states, ‘No child shall be subjected to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation’.
The Sikhs retain the natural constitution of human beings by not cutting their hair. At a reasonable age children start wearing a turban to both maintain the hair neatly, preserve a sense of dignity and be consistent with the Sikh belief system. It is embarrassing for a Sikh to step out in public without a turban. The entire world understands and accommodates for this this except France.
France’s defence of fundamentalist secularity is outdated and absurdly frozen in a period of European experience failing to move forward in a world where much has changed since seventeenth century and plurality is a norm.
Moreover Indian Dharmas do not proselytise nor claim monopoly of truth. The rationale of Lycette law, evolved in opposition to Abrahamic religions, does not apply to Sikhs but France refuses to entertain logic.
Children as young as 6 and 7 are forced to sit outside class and older children forced to wear unsightly nets or keep their hair exposed. A State should not feel triumphant in victimising 6 year old children and psychologically harming kids.
We urge the French State to be objective and review its policy and its obligation under the Convention Article 19, ‘ State Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse,’ We also request the Special Rapporteurs on Rights of the Child and on Torture to report on the impacts of French policy on Sikh children.
SIKH HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP