March 20, 2013 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
London, United Kingdom (March 20, 2013): According to a recent press statement issued by Gurjeet Singh, National Press Secretary of the Sikh Federation (UK), the UK based Sikh body had taken the lead in exerting pressure on the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, before he left for India to raise UK opposition to the death penalty and raise the cases of Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar and Balwant Singh Rajoana when he visited India between 18-20 February.
“The Sikh Federation (UK) wrote to the UK Prime Minister on 12 February and through its lobbying network across the UK managed to contact over 100 MPs before the PM left for India. Around half of these MPs communicated their concerns before the PM left for India on the evening of 17 February” reads the statement.
As per information the Sikh Federation (UK) also approached Fabian Hamilton MP, the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for British Sikhs and Baroness Stern, the Chair of the APPG for the Abolition of the Death Penalty to also write to the PM.
Fabian Hamilton wrote to PM and Foreign Secretary on 13 February. The formal response from the Foreign Secretary is attached. There is nothing new in the letter that has not already been communicated to Shadow Ministers by the Foreign Minister Hugo Swire. However, an official response from the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, in response to the APPG for British Sikhs is significant.
“Yesterday a joint meeting of the APPG for the Abolition of the Death Penalty and the APPG for British Sikhs, along with senior representatives from Amnesty International, Reprieve, Sikh Federation (UK) and Sikh Council UK took place in Parliament to make suggestions for a strategy for further actions to take individually and collectively at the UK, European and international level”, reads the statement.
A further meeting to finalize the strategy will take place next week; this will also involve Human Rights Watch although certain actions are already being taken forward.
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