2013 Review of Our Legal Accomplishments Across 4 Continents!


  • America, Canada, France, Australia and India - all these chapters have some victory to share with you.
  • We humbly request you to share your dasvandh (tithe) this holiday season with us so we can continue to grow on the legal forefront globally.

Global- UNITED SIKHS International Civil and Human Rights Advocacy (ICHRA) continues to serve a global Sikh community without borders, challenging the civil and human rights violations perpetrated against Sikhs worldwide. Here is an outline of our work country wise.

2013 Achievements:

Sikhs Win Third Turban Case at the United Nations against France -
Sikhs Win Third Turban Case at the United Nations against France - The UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) concluded that France has violated the religious freedom of 57 year old Shingara Mann Singh when he was asked to remove his turban for his passport photograph. Shingara Singh, a French national since 1989, was unable to renew his passport in 2005 because the French authorities insisted that he remove his turban for his ID photograph, which he refused to do. The UNITED SIKHS legal team took up his case in French courts and then retained O'Melveny & Myers LLP to file a communication on behalf of Shingara Singh to the UNHRC in December 2008.

UNITED SIKHS 5th Global Sikh Civil and Human Rights Conference -France hosted over 200 participants attending the two day conference from all over the world. Sikhs collectively agreed to form a Global Sikh Alliance to assemble annually. Resolutions can be read by clicking here.

Media Company Apologizes for Offensive Article -
Bauer Media Ltd, a large media company in Australia, apologized and expressed regret to UNITED SIKHS for any offense felt by any member of the Sikh community by the publication of an article and photograph of a Nihang Sikh in their porn magazine in January this year. This apology was expressed in an agreement mediated by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), following a complaint filed by UNITED SIKHS at the end of January 2013.

Potential Turban Removal Bill Intercepted - In late 2013, a Bill was introduced in the Western Australian Parliament to assist police officers in identification of a person. The Bill, passed in the Lower House, inadvertently included the expression "head dress". The Bill permitted a police officer to require a person to remove the "head dress". UNITED SIKHS along with the Sikh Association of Western Australia and Sikh Gurdwara Perth Inc worked with the relevant Ministers to have the Bill withdrawn from the Upper House, amended and ultimately passed by both Houses of Parliament with the expression "face covering" substituted for "head dress".

Sikhi Awareness Training for Western Australian Police - UNITED SIKHS for its 5th has been providing Sikhi awareness training to the Western Australian Police. Over the course of the year hundreds of police recruits have passed through this training which has undoubtedly materially improved the rapport and interaction between the Sikh community and the Western Australian Police.

Kakaars in Schools - UNITED SIKHS successfully advocated for a newly initiated Sikh boy to be allowed to wear all his Kakaars at his primary school. This was achieved by a meeting with the Deputy Principal and the child's teacher. UNITED SIKHS has since attended the school to provide a Sikhi awareness seminar for teachers and staff and has also secured another visit in 2014 to educate students and parents about Sikhi.

First Sikh American Offers Prayers at the 67th United Nations General Assembly Opening Session-
Jatinder P. Singh, a Sikh American and an Associate Director for UNITED SIKHS, offered prayers at the 67th United Nations (UN) General Assembly opening session conducted in the General Assembly building of the UN. Click here to see the prayer.

Courtroom Victory in Pike County, Mississippi - UNITED SIKHS advocated for policy amendments after a Sikh was asked to remove his turban in a courtroom. Our advocacy resulted in a New Policy on Harassment and Non-discrimination applicable to all Pike County employees. The policy can be viewed by clicking here.

Courtroom Victory in Michigan - UNITED SIKHS advocacy lead to a new policy on accommodation of religious attire and headwear in Kalamazoo County Probate Court in Michigan. Michigan Judge sent a personal letter of apology for asking Hardeep Singh to either remove his "hat" or leave the courtroom.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS Workshop in Seattle, Washington - Representatives from several law enforcement agencies attended and addressed the congregation. Click here to access the detailed informational booklet KNOW YOUR RIGHTS.

Co-sponsor of the California Senate Bill 23- This Bill was passed in the California Senate with unanimous support on May 29, 2013 and is headed to the State Assembly. SB 23 is a measure that established a California Bullying Prevention Coordinating Center, which address issues relating to bullying and peer abuse, with a particular focus on issues that impact pupils in kindergarten, grades 1 to 12, their families, peers, and communities.

Young Sikh Leaders Workshop (YSLW), took place on October 19, 2013 and gave a group of youths an amazing opportunity to meet with community leaders for a rare lesson in leadership and advocacy rights on Capitol Hill. YSLW 2013 focused on exploring post-9/11 xenophobia and hate crime increases, bias- based bullying among youth and tools to advocate for change and address misconceptions.

UNITED SIKHS' 5th Annual Sikh Summit took place in Washington DC from October 22-24, 2013 and gave community members from around the United States the opportunity to hold meaningful dialogue and promote solutions about important civil and human rights issues with over 22 congressmen and 6 different federal government agencies.

Sikh Couple thrown out of AMC cinemas- An initiated Sikh couple who were thrown out of AMC cinemas in California for wearing their kirpans were provided with legal representation.

Sikh children not allowed to ride Go-Karts - Four Sikhs of a family, which included three brothers aged 11, 15 and 16, and their 28 year old cousin were given an ultimatum by employees of a local amusement park to either remove their patkas, or not ride the go-karts. UNITED SIKHS are currently still actively pursuing this matter.

Sikh Gurus' Portraits Removed from Los Angeles Bar. UNITED SIKHS assisted with getting a Bar to remove portraits of the Sikh Gurus on the Bar's walls. We immediately swung into action and wrote a demand letter to the Bar management explaining the seriousness of the matter, and asking for the portraits to be removed. Though the bar management did not respond in the days that followed, within 36 hours of our receiving our letter, the pictures of the portraits were removed from their website. On being unable to solicit a response, we went ahead and started a petition on social media. What followed was some intense advocacy, and back to back communications with the bar management. We were assured that the portraits will be taken down, and they finally were, The portraits were removed in less than two weeks from the day UNITED SIKHS started the petition.

Launch of Washington, DC branch - In April of this year, the American Sikh Congressional Caucus was formed with over 35 congressmen on both sides of the aisle in the United States capitol ready to assist us with our advocacy initiatives. With our new branch, we are better able to attend important United States government meetings, discussions, and lobby for Sikh rights.

First Canadian Sikh Summit -
Sikhs from all parts of Canada gathered to meet with the Federal government, the New Democratic Party leaders, Liberal Party leaders, and members of the opposition party to advocate for important Sikh civil and human rights issues at the first Canadian Sikh Summit in Ottawa D.C.

Sikh Students Can Once Again Wear Their Turbans to an Indian Catholic School -
In Baramulla, Kashmir, the 107 year-old school, which has 300 Sikh students, had excluded turbaned Sikh students from classes saying that the turban is against the schoolss uniform code. On May 25th 2013 , following a letter writing campaign by UNITED SIKHS to the school and state and national authorities, the school principal called a meeting with parents of the affected students and Sikh community representatives where he announced that the students may return to school wearing their turbans.

To learn more about the ICHRA, please visit our website or email us at law-global@unitedsikhs.org.

Make the year end tax exempt contribution of your dasvand & show your support.

Issued By:
Mejindarpal Kaur
Director, International Civil and Human Rights Advocacy (ICHRA)

Our Mission

To transform underprivileged and minority communities and individuals into informed and vibrant members of society through civic, educational and personal development programs, by fostering active participation in social and economic activity.

UNITED SIKHS is also an avenue for networking between like-minded organisations to establish and nurture meaningful projects and dialogues - whether social, cultural or political- to promote harmony, understanding and reciprocity in our villages, towns and cities.

UNITED SIKHS is a coalition of organisations and individuals, who share a common vision based on the belief that there is no greater endeavour than to serve, empower and uplift fellow beings. The core of our philosophy is an unwavering commitment to civic service and social progress on behalf of the common good.

Accordingly, UNITED SIKHS has sought to fulfil its mission not only by informing, educating and uplifting fellow beings but also by participating in cross-cultural and political exchanges to ensure that the promises and benefits of democracy are realized by all.

We at UNITED SIKHS believe that the development of enlightened and progressive societies can be made possible by socially conscious groups of people who make a commitment to develop and direct human potential. Our work, efforts and achievements stand as a testament to our faith in this vision.

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