Human Right Without Frontiers International – Iraq: Sunni women tell of ISIS detention, torture

Human Rights Watch, 20 February 2017. Fighters from the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) are arbitrarily detaining, ill-treating, torturing, and forcibly marrying Sunni Arab women and girls in areas under their control in Iraq, Human Rights Watch said today.

Although accounts of gender-based violence have emerged from areas under ISIS control, these are the first cases against Sunni Arab women in Iraq that Human Rights Watch has been able to document.

Researchers interviewed six women in Kirkuk, to which they had escaped from the town of Hawija, 125 kilometers south of Mosul and still under ISIS control. Human Rights Watch and others have extensively documented similar abuses by ISIS fighters against Yezidi women.

“Little is known about sexual abuse against Sunni Arab women living under ISIS rule,” said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “We hope that the international community and local authorities will do all they can to give this group of victims the support they need.”

In January 2017, Human Rights Watch interviewed four women who said they had been detained by ISIS in 2016, for periods between three days and a month. Another woman said an ISIS fighter, her cousin, forced her to marry him and then raped her.

A sixth woman said that ISIS fighters destroyed her home as punishment after her husband escaped ISIS and tried to forcibly marry her. Five of the six women said that ISIS fighters beat them.

One woman said that in April 2016, she tried to escape Hawija with her three children and a large group of other families.

ISIS fighters captured the group and held 50 of the women from the group in an abandoned house. The woman said that over the next month, one fighter raped her daily in front of her children. She suspected that many of the other women held with her were also being raped.

Experts from four international organizations, including two medical organizations, working with survivors of sexual assault in northern Iraq told Human Rights Watch it is difficult to assess the prevalence of ISIS’ gender-based violence against women who have fled territory under their control.

They said that victims and their families remain silent to avoid stigmatization and harm to the woman or girl’s reputation.

One foreign aid worker said she had seen cases mostly of forced marriage and rape, but she believed that very few of the victims in the displaced communities she works with have come forward.

She said some women try to hide the incident from their own families out of fear they will be stigmatized or punished by their relatives or community.

Babies born of rape or forced marriage may also face stigma, she said. Their long-term psychosocial support and medical treatment are particular concerns, she said.

Another aid provider for an international organization providing services at three camps for people displaced from ISIS-controlled territory said their staff had documented 50 cases of women and girls who suffered psychological and physical violence at the hands of ISIS and to whom the organization was providing support.

Several local and international organizations are providing support to victims of gender-based violence.

However, not enough is being done to tackle the stigma around sexual violence, and there is a lack of awareness about appropriate services and psychosocial or mental health support, medical professionals and service providers in Kirkuk said. Available services continue to be outstripped by needs, they said.

A psychiatrist at an international organization providing psychosocial support in one of the larger displaced people’s camps in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq said that too little has been done to inform men about how to support female victims of gender-based violence.

She said that very often, male relatives will forbid women from getting counseling and vocational training, even if the women want the services.

The women interviewed are all patients at the Kirkuk Center, where a staff of 12 provides psychological and behavioral counseling to women and children. Dr Abd al-Karim Kalyfa, who runs the center, said in January that the center was at that time treating 30 patients, 15 of them children, suffering from trauma related to their experiences living under ISIS.

In 2016, he said, his center treated about 400 patients who had come from ISIS-held territory. ISIS fighters had raped at least two of his current patients, he said.

He knew of one other organization in the Kirkuk area providing services to victims of sexual assault but said there was far too little support available to provide needed mental health care to displaced people who had lived under ISIS.

Another medical professional in Kirkuk who is providing social support to women and children who have been traumatized by their experience under ISIS said that services provided by the federal government focus on pharmacological treatment, not on psychosocial therapy and counseling.

A program manager at an international organization providing services in one of the larger displaced people’s camps in northern Iraq said that the group has been able to create effective safe spaces and start vocational projects for women.

But it has not yet been able to provide more long-term psychosocial support and other services for survivors of gender-based violence, because it is struggling to find female staff with the needed language skills, experience, and professional qualifications.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), together with United Nations agencies and other international humanitarian groups, have struggled to provide the survivors of violence against Yezidi women who escaped ISIS with post-rape care and psychosocial support.

Providing adequate mental health care and psychosocial support is a complex and long-term challenge. The KRG government, Iraqi central government, UN agencies, and others involved need to put in place a coordinated response, based on an assessment of the needs and the most pressing priorities.

The groups should identify key barriers to making care and services accessible, available, and voluntary, and determine the potential cost. Such coordination efforts should include the World Health Organization (WHO) and representatives of the survivors.

WHO has said that mental health services and psychosocial support are essential components of comprehensive care for survivors of sexual violence.

It has also stated that people with mental health conditions and their communities should help develop these services and that those responsible for providing services should strengthen existing resources and make them available in a nondiscriminatory fashion to all.

“ISIS victims of gender-based violence suffer the consequences of their abuse long after they have managed to escape.” Fakih said.

“Their care and rehabilitation requires a multifaceted response, with authorities providing the needed medical and psychosocial support and working to stamp out stigma around sexual violence within the wider community.”

The Kirkuk-based National Institute for Human Rights helped Human Rights Watch by identifying the interviewees and setting up and hosting the interviews. All interviews were conducted with full and informed consent, in Arabic without translation.

We took measures to respect the privacy of survivors and conducted interviews in as private a setting as possible. In all cases, Human Rights Watch took steps to minimize re-traumatization of survivors, stopping interviews if they caused distress. In order to protect victims and witnesses, individual names and other identifying information have been modified or withheld.

To see the full article and read the interviews click on the link below :

http://hrwf.eu/iraq-sunni-women-tell-of-isis-detention-torture/

The Times of India – Hopes rise for early extradition of Vijay Mallya after India-UK talks

Sikhs in the UK be on the alert, Theresa might want to extradite opponents of the Modi regime in exchange for Indian trade deals !
Man in Blue

New Delhi, 21 February 2017. The extradition of Vijay Mallya may happen sooner than expected. After a meeting between officials from UK and India on extradition and mutual legal assistance, Indian sources said they received a “positive” response from UK.

While the government is unwilling to comment directly on the Mallya case, the official spokesperson said, “Both sides held detailed and fruitful deliberations on the legal processes and procedures in either country and reviewed the requests for extradition and mutual legal assistance pending on either side. Both sides reiterated their determination to strengthen legal cooperation and expedite the pending requests”

A two-day long meeting between British and Indian officials related to pending cases of deportation and extradition of “wanted” suspects from either country.

The Indian side was led by a senior MEA official in charge of passports and visas, accompanied by senior officials from home ministry, and CBI, Enforcement Directorate and other investigating agencies, including state-level officials.

The British side was led by the head of the UK Central Authority for Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance, the UK Home Office, representatives from the Crown Prosecution Service and the UK High Commission in New Delhi.

While the meeting was spurred by a decision between British PM Theresa May and Narendra Modi last November to familiarize officials on both sides with legal and law enforcement procedures, it also happened in the immediate aftermath of India making a formal extradition request to the UK for Vijay Mallya, the disgraced UB baron.

At the end of the meeting, Indian officials are more optimistic of being able to get Mallya back.

Indian officials answered questions about death penalty, prison conditions etc, which would help when the legal process goes through the UK system.

An official statement said the meeting was about sharing “best practices, and identify the causes of delays and expedite pending requests so that fugitives and criminals should not be allowed to escape the law.”

It was agreed that the Central Authorities of both the countries would review further progress in these cases every six month through video conference.

During the May visit, Indian officials had asked the UK to extradite nearly 60 people, including Lalit Modi and Mallya. In return, UK also wants 17 people from India to be tried for crimes in the UK, against whom Letters Rogatory had been issued.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/hopes-rise-for-early-extradition-of-vijay-mallya-after-india-uk-talks/articleshow/57275613.cms

Pakistan Today – Sikhs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) continue to live without basic amenities

Peshawar, 21 February 2017. Approximately 10,000 members of the Sikh community in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are deprived of fundamental necessities such as education and health.

Brimming with gurdwaras from before partition, the Peshawar’s Sikh community can currently use only two worship places.

“Plazas have been constructed in place of some gurdwaras. The ones not sold have been taken over by the land grabbing mafia,” alleged Pakistan Sikh community Chairman Radesh Singh Tony.

“The community does not have a shamshan ghat (cremation ground) to perform the last rites of the dead,” he added. Instead, the community has to make cremation arrangements in Attock in case of a death, which costs around Rs 65,000 per person.

Members of the Sikh community had to move to Peshawar’s Muhalla Jogan Shah and Saddar Bazaar localities after the law and order situation posed threats to their security. Children were pulled out of schools due to safety concerns.

“We are renting property to create makeshift schools. It is difficult to bear the expenses. We request the government to provide us with a building and funds for education,” said school headmaster Baba Jugerpaal Singh.

Despite the tough living conditions, the Sikh community remains fairly positive that its issues will be resolved by the government. “The prime minister is taking a lot of interest in resolving minority issues. Recently Pakistan has passed a bill against forced conversion,” MNA Asfan Yar Bhandara said during his visit to a gurdwara.

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2017/02/21/sikhs-in-kp-continue-to-live-without-basic-amenities/

The Hindu – Amnesty faults sedition law

Criticises curbs on NGOs, attacks on activists, journalists

Special Correspondent

New Delhi, 22 February 2017. Amnesty International’s State of the World’s  has expressed concern over a range of human rights violations in India.

The report, being released worldwide on Wednesday, slammed the use of legislation such as the Foreign Currency (Regulation) Act (FCRA) and the sedition law to silence government critics and crack down on civil society organisations.

It noted, in particular, the suspension of the FCRA registration of Lawyers Collective, and the government’s refusal to renew the FCRA licences of 25 NGOs “without offering valid reasons,” which constitute a violation of the right to freedom of association.

Speaking of India’s record, Amnesty International said, “Human rights activists and journalists faced intimidation and attacks from both state and non-state actors.”

The report pointed to the deaths of journalists Karun Mishra and Rajdeo Ranjan.

In a sub-section on India titled ‘Caste-based discrimination and violence’, the report noted that “Dalits and Adivasis continued to face widespread abuses”.

It also highlighted the nationwide protests following the suicide of Dalit student Rohith Vemula, the attack on Dalit men by a cow vigilante group in Una, and the discrimination faced by Dalits in accessing social spaces and public services.

Crimes against children

Noting that crimes against children in India grew by 5% in 2015, the report drew attention to India’s amendment to the child labour law, which allows children under 14 to work in “family enterprises”, and children between 14 and 18 years to work in occupations not classified as “hazardous.”

It also pointed out that India’s draft national education policy released last August “made no mention of human rights education.”

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/amnesty-faults-sedition-law/article17343822.ece

Human Right Without Frontiers International – Morocco religious authorities rule leaving Islam is no longer punishable by death

Joseph Hartropp

Christian Today, 06 February 2017. The High Religious Committee of Morocco has retracted a previous ruling that apostasy from Islam is punishable by death and says that Muslims may now change their religion.

Previously the committee, which holds the responsibility of issuing Fatwas (Islamic rulings), had stated that defection from Islam merited the death penalty. Now however, the committee has retracted its position, Morocco World News reports.

In a document titled The Way of the Scholars the committee defines apostasy not as a religious issue but a political one.

“The most accurate understanding, and the most consistent with the Islamic legislation and the practical way of the Prophet, peace be upon him, is that the killing of the apostate is meant for the traitor of the group, the one disclosing secrets, […] the equivalent of treason in international law,” it says.

Apostasy is described as something that in the earliest period of Islam was punishable for its political consequences – those who fled Islam might disclose the secrets of the nation to its enemies.

The context of apostasy and its punishment, the committee suggests, was predominantly pragmatic and political. Such tensions are no longer relevant to most cases of apostasy, it says.

The committee noted too that in various instances the Quran speaks of apostasy being punished in the life to come, but not in this present life. For example, it says (2:217): “And whoever of you reverts from his religion [to disbelief] and dies while he is a disbeliever, for those, their deeds have become worthless in this world and the Hereafter, and those are the companions of the Fire, they will abide therein eternally.”

The document also said that the prophet Mohammad, during the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, followed the tradition that anyone who renounced Islam must be allowed to return to Quraich, Islam’s greatest enemy at the time.

Christians represent a small minority in Muslim-majority Morocco. Moroccan Christians have previously spoken up for their faith and challenged the harsh anti-apostasy laws, despite the threat of persecution.

Late last year the US State Department released its annual report on religious freedom, which included serious concerns about harsh and dangerous laws against blasphemy and apostasy in certain parts of the world, which are used to target vulnerable religious minorities.

http://bit.ly/2kFjNr6

View this newsletter:

http://hrwf.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Morocco2017.pdf

Human Right Without Frontiers International – The European Union must have the courage to reform the European Arrest Warrant, say several experts at the European Parliament

HRWF, 08 February 2017. “The European Commission should urgently consider a reform of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) as for years its implementation has been tarnished by numerous flaws,” a number of experts said during an event at the European Parliament hosted yesterday by MEP Hannu Takkula with the collaboration of Human Rights Without Frontiers.

The invited speakers were:

Jago Russell from Fair Trials, London

Barrister Eeva Heikkila, London

Oliver Pahnecke, a human rights lawyer working closely with the OSCE in Warsaw

Throughout the session, the speakers highlighted the precarious and important future of the EAW as the EU transforms in the coming years. Across the board, the experts paid particular attention towards the pivotal role of human rights in regards to the success of this international tool of justice.

Jago Russell: “I want to support the EU in creating a strong and effective mechanism to fight against cross-border crime and terrorism. The EAW has a crucial role to play in this regard but the EU must have the courage to look at the EAW because if it closes its eyes to the way it is undermining human rights, it will give ammunition to those who criticize it.”

A number of concrete cases pointing at dramatic flaws were mentioned with regard to France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, UK.

Oliver Pahnecke: “Trust about the judicial systems and their independence from external actors is vital for the effectiveness of the EAW but in Romania, the Intelligence Services (SRI) undermine the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law.

National Union of the Romanian Judges (UNJR) has for some time spearheaded the campaign of Romanian judges against the covert involvement of the Romanian Intelligence Service in the judiciary.

Under the pretext of fighting corruption, the SRI increased its influence to a point where the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law have become questionable. (Full text available on request)

Eeva Heikkila: “The prosecutions of Dan Adamescu and his son Alex are huge and controversial cases in Romania. As you know, Dan Adamescu, aged 68, died during his detention last month because despite his very bad health conditions he was denied an early release or an alternative way of serving his prison sentence.

Some wonder if it is a politically motivated case. There is evidence that the Social Democratic Party and former PM Victor Ponta were instrumental in many things that went wrong. This is widely reported in the media.

Alex has nothing to hide and would be happy to stand trial on the condition that it is fair but there is no guarantee.

Willy Fautré: “The huge demonstrations in the last two weeks in Romania have clearly shown that the people do not believe in a democratic rule of law in their country. Neither does the European Court. In 2015 alone, the ECtHR delivered 72 judgments (each citing at least one violation) against Romania, the highest number of any EU member state[1].

Among the 47 member states of the Council of Europe, Romania ranked the third highest human rights abuser after the Russian Federation (109 judgments) and Turkey (79 judgments).

Worryingly, 27 of those violations in Romania were for inhumane or degrading treatment (Article 3), with many relating to the appalling conditions and treatment in Romanian prisons[2]. In 13 cases, the violations were due to the lack of effective investigation and in 13 other cases to the lack of a fair trial.

Moreover, Bucharest abuses the European Arrest Warrant as well. For example, in 2015-16, there were 1508 requests of extradition addressed by Romania to the UK while London had only addressed six requests to Bucharest[3].

All these reasons should seriously be taken into consideration by the executing countries which are requested to implement extradition to Romania as long as the rule of law and prison conditions fail to meet EU standards.”

There was an echoing conclusion regarding the necessity of the European Commission to come out of its long silence and passivity, and to urgently reform the EAW, as requested by Fair Trials.

[1]European Court of Human Rights, Statistics: “Violations by Article and by State 2015”, echr.coe.int, Accessed 08 November 2016, http://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Stats_violation_2015_ENG.pdf
[2] Ibid.
[3] See https://e-justice.europa.eu/content_european_arrest_warrant-90-en.do

See HRWF website:

http://www.hrwf.eu

Human Right Without Frontiers International – Russian anti-cultist Alexander Dvorkin attacks Hindus

http://www.about-dvorkin.ru, 01 February 2017. This is the second scandal with the involvement of FECRIS vice-president Alexander Dvorkin that effects Russian-Indian relations.

The story begun more than year ago and involved the Center for Promotion of Conservation and Development of Indian Culture “Shri Prakash Dham” founded by Hindu Shri Prakash Ji in Moscow area and officially registered by the Ministry of Justice of Russia in 2002. Shri Prakash Ji has lived in Russia for more than 27 years.

The Russian federal news agency Rosbalt wrote that Hindus have accused the Orthodox theologian of discrimination on religious grounds.

Referring to Prasun Prakash (son of Shri Prakash Ji) the news agency wrote: “…he and his family were subjected of attacks by the President of “Russian Association of centers for study religions and sects” and the “Center for religious studies in the name of the Holy Martyr Irenaeus” headed by Alexander Dvorkin, as well as his “accomplices”.

Russian Indian claims that Dvorkin systematically “defiles Hinduism as a world religion and hurts the feelings of hundreds of millions of believers around the world” on its Internet-resource forum.iriney.ru and in social media.

In this regard, Prasun Prakash calls his friends, acquaintances and public in general, including people who could somehow influence the situation, ‘to pay attention to the activities carried out by Alexander Dvorkin and his associates which is illegal and undermines friendly relations between Russia and India'”

After an attack in December 2016 on the home of Prasun Prakash and his family, he initiated online petition: “I humbly urge the heads of both states, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi, and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of both countries, Mr. Sergey Lavrov and Mrs. Sushma Swaraj, and the representatives of the Embassy of India in Russia, to turn their attention towards this urgent issue, and enable the Hindus in Russia to lead a peaceful life with assurance of safety against any kind of persecution from radical elements like Mr. Alexander Dvorkin and his accomplices.”

It should also be noted that Shri Prakash Ji, acting within the legal framework, is seeking protection from the religious extremists in court. The last hearing took place on 19 January 2017, but it has been rescheduled for 13 February, Prasun Prakash said on his Facebook page:

“The hearing supposed to be the final and the whole community waited for our victory this day. But the public is also aware of how the radical elements in person of Alexander Dvorkin love to use petty tools by which they manage to delay the process.

This is done to gain time and utilize it to continue spreading slander through paid publications and TV shows. Also a second goal is pursued, attracting false witnesses who do not even know against whom and what they testify.

Thus, the mud is used as advertising to attract witnesses-actors or in the case of our hearing, the actor who plays the role of the new administrator the RACSRS’s web-site [the web-site of the Russian Association of Centers for Study Religions and Sects – our note].

In this regard, the hearing was postponed on February 13. Considering the fact that before the hearing Alexander Dvorkin and his attorney had long time negotiation with the new administrator, I have no doubts that this is another shameless attempt to win time for new attacks on my religion, my Father and family, as well as on our cultural center and millions believers of Hinduism around the world.”

Details on the mechanism of protraction of the judicial system have been explained by a correspondent of the Moscovskaya Pravda newspaper, who was present at the hearing:

“It became clear that Anna Nikolaeva [secretary of Dvorkin – our note] has no more to do with the web-site, because she resigned from her post, and from December 9, 2016 the administrator is a different person.

But if get former administrator out of the trial, there are no legal basis to continue the trial in the Lublin District Court because the new administrator is registered in the Vladimir Region. So the legal proceedings has to start in another region – essentially from scratch. But interest of the plaintiff is to get final decision without delay.”

Modified by HRWF

http://bit.ly/2kWWA0y

View this newsletter:

http://hrwf.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Russia2017.pdf

First Post – 1984 anti-Sikh riots: Can the Centre deliver justice to victims of mass violence?

Sunday, 29 January 2017. How serious is the Indian government about giving justice to the victims and survivors of the Sikh massacre of 1984? It is a question that all Indians should be interested in, because it will clarify whether or not this country can ever deliver justice in acts of mass violence.

In the slaughter that followed the assassination of Indira Gandhi, 3,325 people were murdered, of whom 2,733 were killed in Delhi alone. Powerful leaders from the Congress were named as having participated in the killings. Some of them, like H K L Bhagat, have since died themselves without facing trial.

Others like Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tytler and Kamal Nath are still around. The Ranganath Misra commission that first inquired the massacre recorded their statements in private, in the absence of the victims, and absolved Rajiv Gandhi’s government of responsibility.

A dozen Congress and non-Congress governments at the Centre have come and gone in these 32 years, while little progress was made on the cases. The Vajpayee regime instituted the Nanavati commission, whose report was tabled by Manmohan Singh’s government.

This report made public a lot of material that was shocking, and Singh apologised to the country on behalf of Congress. Tytler lost his ministry but no justice was forthcoming.

The National Democratic Alliance under Narendra Modi promised action and constituted a committee headed by G P Mathur on 23 December, 2014 to suggest a way forward.

In a matter of weeks, Mathur recommended setting up of a Special Investigation Team to re-examine the cases. The SIT would access police stations and the files of previous committees which had gathered evidence. Importantly, the team would have the powers to file fresh charges where it found evidence.

The team was formed on 12 February, 2015 and began its work but was unable to file any fresh chargesheet. Following this, it got an extension in August 2015 for one year. However, by August 2016 no fresh charges had been filed.

No progress report was made public and the SIT received a second extension, which now ends on 11 February. It will be unfair to the victims and survivors if this deadline again comes and goes without any movement on justice.

The home ministry says that 650 cases had been registered in connection with the 1984 riots. Of these, 18 were ‘cancelled’ and 268 case files were “untraceable”.

The SIT has been reinvestigating these 286 cases. In a statement in November 2016, the ministry said that “as of now, 218 cases are under various stages of scrutiny. So far, 22 cases have been identified for further investigation. The SIT has issued public notices with regard to these 22 cases prior to proceeding further.”

The ministry says that because the first information reports were recorded in Gurmukhi or Urdu, their scrutiny was being delayed. This is difficult to believe because there is no shortage of people in India with the skills to translate these languages.

The ministry’s statement said: “The cases being very old, there has been difficulty in collating and scrutinizing records… Notwithstanding the difficulties, the SIT has taken up the challenge and all efforts are being made to examine the cases minutely and due care is being taken to scrutinize the cases with a view to render justice to affected families.”

Unfortunately, there is no evidence that there has been any progress on these investigations. The organisation I work for, Amnesty India, held a conclave in Delhi last year on this subject. We have worked with several of the groups representing the victims and survivors and they have not seen any seriousness either.

For example, none of the survivors who were witnesses to the crimes had been approached to re-record their statements or for any kind of examination. This is troubling because it indicates either a lack of interest or a deliberate disinclination to act. In the absence of a proper investigation, how will fresh charges ever be pressed and how will there be justice?

The usual pattern of a large Indian riot is that the party in power remains in power (unfortunately, such violence helps in mobilising communities) and so the investigation is sabotaged. This has happened many times in India, mostly under Congress rule.

Now that the BJP has the opportunity to undo a lot of the damage that we have suffered as a society which looks away from mass violence. Many of the parties fighting the Punjab elections that are about to take place have agreed to add in their manifesto the promise that they will act on justice for 1984 and that is a good thing.

However, the instrument is already available to the Union government today. It should not give another extension to the SIT and make public a progress report. The old Indian line of tareekh pe tareekh, infinitely denying justice, would be tragic if used once again in this instance.

http://www.firstpost.com/politics/1984-anti-sikh-riots-can-the-centre-deliver-justice-to-victims-of-mass-violence-3225598.html

Sikh24.com – USA Today uses Sikh man’s picture on ‘Islamic Terrorism’ report

Sikh24 Editors

Chicago, Illinois, USA, 28 January 2017. American newspaper USA Today published a report on ‘Islamic Terrorism’ showing picture of a Sikh man. While the news report is about President Donald Trump signing executive orders to keep ‘Islamic Terrorists’ out, USA Today has wrongfully used picture of an American Sikh to accompany the report.

Sikhs are easily distinguished due to their flowing beards and turbans, and have been targeted due to their identity after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, along with Muslims.

USA Today reported, “President Trump made good on one of his most controversial campaign promises Friday when he suspended the US refugee program, temporarily banned all immigrants from seven Muslim countries and ordered his administration to develop “extreme vetting” measures for immigrants from those countries.”

While the news story on its website shows picture of President Trump signing the executive order, the story was posted on Twitter accompanied by picture of an American Sikh.

http://www.sikh24.com/2017/01/28/usa-today-uses-sikh-mans-picture-on-islamic-terrorism-report/#.WIw6iH_RHY8

SALDEF Opposes Anti-Immigrant Executive Orders

SALDEF Community Announcement

Washington DC, 27 January 2017. The Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) strongly opposes the anti-immigrant Executive Orders issued this week by the Trump Administration. These policies expand deportation, criminalize immigrants, defund sanctuary cities, and enforce harmful border policies.

Additionally, President Trump is expected to issue an Executive Order in the coming days that will halt the entire US refugee resettlement program for 120 days, slash overall refugee admissions by at least 50%, ban the arrival of Syrian refugees indefinitely, and suspend travel from “countries of particular concern” widely understood to be a first step toward banning visas from many Muslim majority countries, the beginnings of a ban on Muslims.

These anti-refugee, anti-immigrant, and anti-Muslim policies target communities of color and perpetuate racial and religious profiling. Sikh Americans, Muslim Americans, and all people of faith should have the freedom to pray without backlash from their government and to walk the streets devoid of fear of being harassed based on the way they look or the language they speak.

Our communities are stronger when we stand united against hate and remain united under our common values to freely practice our faith and to simply exist without fear, intimidation, or threat of physical violence.

As an organization dedicated to upholding the social justice and religious freedom of all, SALDEF will continue to work to protect the civil rights of Sikh Americans and stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters from Muslim, Black, Indigenous, LGBTQ, and other targeted communities.

Contact your Members of Congress to express your strong opposition to the anti-immigrant, anti-refugee, and anti-Muslim actions and demand they put out a public statement.

#SolidaritySelfie

To show your solidarity with refugees and immigrants, take a selfie with a sign that says “Sikhs Stand with Refugees” or “Sikhs Stand With Immigrants”, post your photo on your Facebook and tweet it to @SALDEF and to @POTUS. Be sure to include the hashtag #SolidaritySelfie.

Incident Reporting

We encourage the Sikh American community to continue to report any bias or hate incidents to SALDEF.

About SALDEF

Founded in 1996, SALDEF’s mission is to achieve equal access and opportunity for Sikh Americans by protecting civil rights, building dialogue, deepening understanding, promoting civic and political participation, and upholding social justice and religious freedom for all Americans.

Contact SALDEF

Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF)
1730 M St NW, Suite 909
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202-393-2700
Fax: 202-318-3344
Web: www.saldef.org
Email: info@saldef.org