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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014

Sikh genocide petition tabled before US admn

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Fatehgarh Sahib, December 20, 2012
First Published: 23:40 IST(20/12/2012) | Last Updated: 23:42 IST(20/12/2012)

A petition has been tabled before the Barack Obama administration, seeking recognition of violence against Sikhs during November 1984 as "genocide". With more than 46,000 signatures (29,000 online and 17,000 on paper), the Sikh genocide petition is the first ever submitted to the US administration over the 1984 violence.

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The human rights group, Sikh For Justice (SFJ), in a press release, announced to converge at Capitol Hill on February 1, 2013, during the Constituent Work Week of the House of Representatives to lobby in support of the petition.

The US department of state's bureau of democracy, human rights and labour is expected to respond on the petition. Headed by assistant secretary of state Michael Posner, the bureau deals with issues relating to international human rights violations and crimes against humanity. Posner was the founding executive director and president of Human Rights First, a US-based NGO which believes in the US government's full participation in the international human rights system.

In support of the petition, the SFJ submitted "1984 Yes it is Genocide" report to the Posner. The 300-page report consists of evidence showing that Sikhs were killed in large numbers in those 19 states of India where the Congress was in power during November 1984 and the role of party leaders in inciting and organising violence with intent to destroy the Sikh community. The detailed accounts provided in the report show that more than 30,000 Sikhs were killed; thousands of women were raped; hundreds of gurdwaras were burnt and more than 3 lakh displaced during the first week of November 1984.

Referring to the Article 1 and 2 of the UN Convention on Genocide, SFJ's legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who practises human rights law, stated that the US was under obligation to recognise the 1984 violence against Sikhs as genocide. The obligation under the UN Convention to recognise the genocide transcends the economic status and trade ties with the country where the genocide took place, Pannun added.

Pannun said the Sikh community was approaching international fora to seek justice and recognition of the genocide.

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