January 12, 2012 | By Tejashdeep Singh
Paris, France (January 12, 2011): This news is would bring great relief for the Sikhs living in France and elsewhere in Europe that the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) has asked France to submit a report by March 15 on measures it is planning to take against violation of religious freedom of Ranjit Singh (76), who was asked to remove his turban while taking photo for an identity card.
Mejinder Pal Kaur, legal director of Sikh NGO, United Sikh today informed in Paris that following today’s observation of UNHRC, the Sikhs had won the turban case against France at UN.
Quoting the media conference held in Bobigny, near Paris, by the United Sikhs legal team that had filed a communication in December 2008 on beahlf of Ranjit Singh, she said the UNHRC had concluded that France had violated the religous freedom of Ranjit Singh.
The committee observed that France had failed to explain how the turban hindered identification since the wearer’s face would be visible and he would be wearing the turban at all times, Manjinder Pal Kaur said.
“I had faith that truth and justice would prevail and I patiently waited for this day. I pray that France will now fulfil its obligation and grant me a residence card bearing my photo without baring my head” the appelent Ranjeet Singh is reported to have said on being informed about the observation of UNHRC.
Mejinderpal Kaur said that they were happy with the Committee’s observations that France was under obligation to provide Ranjit Singh with an effective remedy, including a reconsideration of his application for renewal of residence permit and a review of the relevant legislative framework and its application in practice.
“We now look to France to fulfill its treaty obligations under International law and its moral duty to ensure that the freedom of religion and belief is upheld for everyone who lives within its territory,” she added.
“In 2004, a ban on turbans began to effect Sikh children in France–they couldn’t attend public school wearing a turban. Shortly, the ban was more widespread and eventually overtook all facets of government services for young and old alike” Sikh24.com has added.
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