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Legal US Lawmakers To Work With Global Sikh Civil Rights Report

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    US Lawmakers To Work With Global Sikh Civil Rights Report

    Read more: US Lawmakers To Work With Global Sikh Civil Rights Report | AHN

    Tejinder Singh - AHN News Correspondent

    Washington, DC, United States (AHN) - Federal lawmakers recently welcomed a report that combines insights from human rights reports with original survey data collected from Sikhs worldwide, and put together by a team of lawyers, activists, academics and civil rights experts.

    [​IMG] Rep. Zoe Lofgren sympathized with the plight of Sikhs discriminated against at airports and detained during international travel, while Rep. John Garamendi agreed that there is a training issue and lack of consistency in how these concerns are handled across airports.

    Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s office and Senator Joe Lieberman shared concern about the arbitrary targeting of Sikhs in airports and the lack of due process on TRIP complaints, and offered assistance in furthering dialogue with the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security. 

    Another issue that garnered encouragement was the counting of Sikhs in the census. As of now, Sikhs who self-identify on the census form under “some other race” are automatically coded as Asian Indians with no way to disaggregate data. Consequently, there are no substantial numbers on the number of Sikhs in the country.

    Rep. Xavier Becerra agreed that having a disaggregated number is important to be able to provide adequate services to the population.
    Rep. Judy Chu’s office offered immediate assistance to get a separate code for Sikhs in upcoming American Community Surveys, while Rep. Yvette Clark remarked she was “100 percent supportive of the issue.”

    The meetings were part of a week-long Sikh summit.

    United Sikhs Director Kashmir Singh welcomed the concern of the lawmakers in implementing solutions to Sikh civil rights concerns.
    “Each lawmaker received a memorandum on Sikh issues, and we have made some recommendations on how to address these issues. We are hoping to be able to continue our work with policymakers and community members on how to translate these thoughts into action and be part of the decision making process that affects our community,” Kashmir Singh said.
    Staff attorney Jaspreet Singh, editor-in-chief of the report said, “When United Sikhs created the 2008 Global Sikh Civil Rights Report, the idea was to fill a void in literature because no such resources existed."

    He added that "Over the past year, we've learnt that the impact of the report has been far greater, and we've received feedback from litigators, non-profit organizations as well as the Sikh and non-Sikh community about its use in informing their own work.”

    "Keeping these ideas in mind," Jaspreet Singh continued, "we've included informative essays, statistics and survey data to increase the report's utility.”
    The 2008 Global Civil Rights Report had provided a first-of-its-kind insight into the needs and challenges of the global Sikh community, noted United Sikhs in their statement.

    On the latest report, it said, “the 2009 report incorporates data from the Global Sikh Civil Rights Survey administered in 17 countries with over 300 respondents. Sikhs around the world weighed in on issues of hate crimes, xenophobia, current policies and practices toward minority communities, and the particular challenges of the Sikh community.”

    The compilation consists of reports from 22 countries with small and large Sikh populations, representing a myriad of life experiences of Sikhs worldwide.

    Some of the Senators, Congressmen/women, and key government agency officials, who met with Sikh community leaders, during a week-long Sikh Summit, converging from all over the U.S. were Congressmen John Barrow, Scott Garrett, John Lewis, Pete King, Steve Rothman, Albio Sires, John Garamendi, Pete Stark, Michael Honda, Brian Bilbray and Congresswomen Loretta Sanchez, Sheila Jackson Lee among others.

    Among the prominent Senators were Dianne Feinstein, Jim Webb, John Cornyn, Benjamin Cardin.

    You can find more about the survey at this link http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/united-sikhs/30210-united-sikhs-2009-global-sikh-civil.html
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