TORONTO, CANADA – In a press release issued by United Sikhs, an international civil and human rights organization, they stated that the Sikh diaspora was concerned about the recent arrest of a socio-political activist Bhai Amritpal Singh and 78 of his aides by the government of Punjab.
United Sikhs condemned the civil right violations during the crackdown on Sikh activists throughout Punjab and further stated:
“This act is a serious breach of his fundamental rights and civil liberties; and will never be accepted under India’s obligations as laid out under the International Bills of rights and all other special Conventions and Protocols which India has duly ratified.”
“The arrests breach the national obligations of India under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), International Convention for Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR 1966); International Convention for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR 1967), and all other special Covenants for the rights of children, women, the disabled, and convention against Torture to name a few. These Covenants layout fundamental principles of human existence in equality and dignity. Furthermore, even though the Constitution of India and other human rights law the country guarantee the right to equality and dignity, the decision of the government to detain the social-political activists and journalists is illegal and illegitimate by all accounts.”
“In India, human rights violations have become the order of the day because of the deliberate policy of the government to suppress civil and human rights activists which is now characteristic of the regime. We have observed a consistent pattern of violations taking place in a well-coordinated manner by using State resources and machineries. There is a systematic and institutional oppressions and attack against the rights of the Sikhs and minorities in the country.”
“The religious freedom of the Sikhs in Punjab which includes the freedom to return to their indigenous roots by being baptized according to their faith was unsettlingly and unreasonably terrifying for the Government. Instead of encouraging the unity of Sikhs and community empowerment, the government seems to be taking offense and continued its oppressive behavior to unabated.”
“To oppress the Sikh voices, the Indian state recently detained the Sikh preacher and activist Amritpal Singh and his aides unlawfully.”
“The Sikhs around the world are demanding an answer as to why and what are the grounds for Amritpal’s arrest.”
We are also asking why the government is suspending the media and blatantly violating freedom of speech in the country.
Today, we call on the government of Canada to fulfill its duty to act by at least shaming the conduct of its peer State, India. As a member of the United Nations, Canada has an international duty to condemn India’s illegal conduct. Further, Canada has an obligation to use its diplomatic channels and platforms to pressure India into compliance.
Press release issued by:
Director of International Civil & Human Rights Advocacy
UNITED SIKHS Canada