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1984 Anti-Sikh Pogrom Deeply Regrettable, But Not Genocide: Canada

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Even as the Sikhs for Justice, a New York-based human rights advocacy group, is gearing up to file a petition with the UNO seeking the recognition of the 1984 riots as genocide, it has come to light that the Canadian Government had rejected a similar petition filed by Newton-North Delta MP Sukh Dhaliwal and Brampton West MP Andrew Kania in June last year.

Rejecting the petition on September 20 last year, the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs said: “Events of 1984 were clearly horrific and deeply regrettable. The importance of seeking justice for the victims should not be diminished. Nonetheless, the crime of genocide is a specific intent offence requiring a high threshold of proof of intent to destroy an identifiable group. As far as the Government of Canada is aware, there is no evidence of such intent in this case.”

The reply also mentions about the Nanavati Commission report and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s apology for the 1984 riots. “In August 2005, the Nanavati Commission report on the 1984 riots was tabled in New Delhi. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh subsequently issued a public apology to Sikhs and the nation as a whole on August 1, 2005, offering a rehabilitation package for the victims and promising action on specific cases named in the report,” it stated.

The response to the petition also dwelt upon India’s vibrant democracy, independent judiciary and free Press. “India is a fully functioning democracy with an independent judiciary and has bodies such as the National Human Rights Commission and 18 state human rights commissions that are designed to receive and process human rights complaints as directed under the Indian ‘Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993’. There have been two commissions of inquiry and eight inquiry committees appointed by several Indian Governments since 1984, who were all tasked with examining riots.”

“Canada recognises that it is the responsibility of the Government of India to fulfill its international human rights obligations and to ensure the safety and well-being of its citizens regardless of religion and ethnicity. Canada also recognises that India is a highly diverse country facing many challenges but serves as an example where civil society and democracy flourish and the Press plays an active and responsible role in reporting alleged human rights abuses,” it further added.

However, Canada had expressed regret over the violence and loss of life that resulted from the riots. Dubbing promotion and protection of human rights an integral part of its foreign policy, it said: “Where there have been allegations of gross human rights violations or crimes against humanity, Canada stresses the need for independent investigations and the importance for accountability of those who are responsible.”

Meanwhile, on a recent visit to Amritsar, Dhaliwal had said he had filed the petition on the people’s demand and was willing to do so once again.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20110103/punjab.htm#4
 

spnadmin

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Jun 17, 2004
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This article in a kind of miniature scenario compares the workings of 3 modern democracies. How different the practice of democracy can be!

welcomekaur

I was first stymied but then realized that the path that is open in the US (though perhaps not in Canada) is the use of the courts.

This reason was given for not taking a petition up by the Canadian Government.

The response to the petition also dwelt upon India’s vibrant democracy, independent judiciary and free Press. “India is a fully functioning democracy with an independent judiciary and has bodies such as the National Human Rights Commission and 18 state human rights commissions that are designed to receive and process human rights complaints as directed under the Indian ‘Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993’. There have been two commissions of inquiry and eight inquiry committees appointed by several Indian Governments since 1984, who were all tasked with examining riots.”
Criticism and support for this petition has been bounced around a lot recently in the Canadian press.

In the US action was taken to the Federal Courts, with law suits filed against individuals as opposed to the Indian Government. Thinking specifically here of a recent suit brought in federal court against Kamal Nath. This is a completely different strategy which side-steps problems related to diplomacy and political relationships between governments. And the court indeed found in favor of the plaintiffs and against Kamal Nath.

If a similar petition were taken in the US to either the executive or legislative branch of government, imho the result would be very similar to what is happening in Canada. Making a case in a court of law, the judiciary branch, led to a different result.

I can find the links to the relevant news stories and post them if anyone is interested to know how these two avenues of redress differ.
 

Ambarsaria

ੴ / Ik▫oaʼnkār
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Just curious if any of the politicians cared to read what Genocide is defined as,

From,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genocide


..... a legal definition is found in the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG). Article 2 of this convention defines genocide as:
"any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."

Let us pull it apart and just some thoughts,


  • any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy,
    • in whole
    • or in part,
        • YES
    • a national, ethnical, racial or
      • religious group,
        • YES, Sikh
      • as such:
        • killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
          • YES, killing, serious bodily harm and mental harm
        • deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life,
          • YES, organized attacks
        • calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
          • YES, many sikhs men, women and children murdered
        • imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."
          • Not applicable
What is missing,


  • Names of victims ... Known perhaps some missed
  • Organizers ... Known
  • Perpetrators ... Known
What a shame, atrocity, genocide and injustice.

Sat Sri Akal
 

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