November 11, 2013 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
London, United Kingdom (November 11, 2013): As per information on 1 November 2013 the Sikh Federation (UK) arranged a meeting at 11am in advance of the Justice Rally for a delegation of Sikhs to meet for one hour with staff at the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner in Palais Wilson.
Seven Sikhs pictured opposite were allowed entry to meet with officials—they included Dabinderjit Singh, an advisor to the Sikh Federation (UK) who organised the meeting; Gurpatwant Singh Pannum, Jatinder Singh Grewal and Avtar Singh Panu representing Sikhs for Justice; Harminder Singh Khalsa representing the Swiss based Movement Against Atrocities and Repression; Karj Singh representing the All India Sikh Student Federation (AISSF); and Jasbir Singh a survivor of the 1984 Sikh Genocide who lost 26 members of his family.
The Sikh Federation (UK) asked for staff that deal with the following UN mandates to be present at the meeting to hear about Sikh concerns:
• Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary executions
• Freedom of Opinion and Expression
• Freedom of Religion or Belief
• Human Rights Defenders
• Cultural Rights
• Independence of Judges and Lawyers
• Minority Issues
• Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence
• Protecting Human Rights while Countering Terrorism
• Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance
• Human Rights of Indigenous People
Several of the above mandates were represented at the meeting as well as UN staff that deal with India. The Sikh Federation (UK) along with the Movement Against Atrocities and Repression is in the process of organising a follow up meeting with Pablo de Greiff the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence that was set up last year. He deals with situations in which there have been gross violations of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law. It was suggested a parallel approach through the Special Rapporteur who has specific powers to investigate alongside the petition to the UN Human Rights Council was advisable.
Those at the UN who deal with India when asked for advice by a representative for Sikhs for Justice suggested it was very unlikely the UN would conduct an independent investigation on the back of the complaint and petition lodged with the UN Human Rights Council without pressure from countries that make up the United Nations. Sikhs living in the UK, Canada, USA, Australia etc. are at various stages of convincing politicians in these countries to recognise the events of 1984 as Genocide and call for an independent UN-led investigation. It is quite another matter that India will agree to such an investigation.
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