• Thursday, February 21, 2019

UN human rights body backs French Sikhs on turbans

Discussion in 'World Affairs' started by Prometheus, Jan 15, 2012.

  1. Prometheus

    Prometheus SENIOR MEMBER

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    A Sikh man in France has won the backing of the United Nations Human Rights Committee in his fight over religious headgear.

    It said France was violating Sikhs' religious freedom by forcing them to remove their turbans when having photos taken for passports and ID cards.

    Ranjit Singh, 76, said he had turned to the UN because he found the French policy disrespectful and unnecessary.

    The ruling is not legally binding. France was asked to respond by March.

    Mr Singh welcomed the decision, telling the BBC: "[The turban] is part of my body. It is my identity and I cannot part with it."

    Long battle
    Sikhs in France have been fighting a long battle over the turban.

    In 2004 France passed a law banning religious signs in schools. This included turbans and Muslim headscarves.

    I had faith that truth and justice would prevail and I patiently waited for this day”

    Ranjit Singh
    In the following years, people renewing passports and certain official documents were also asked to remove the religious headgear for photographs.

    In the case of driving licences, French regulations said that motorists must appear "bareheaded and facing forward" in their photographs.

    But some Sikhs like Ranjit Singh refused to take off their turbans for these official photographs.

    As a result, they were refused ID cards and passports.

    For Mr Singh it was not a decision he took lightly.

    He has been ill for some time and without official ID he was barred from receiving medical treatment and national and local government help and services.

    "I cannot get myself treated," he said. "I cannot get X-rays, I cannot get my blood test done, I cannot get admitted to hospital."

    He and a fellow Sikh, 55-year-old Shingara Singh, started their fight against the policy in the French courts.

    But when they lost their cases, they took the matter to the European courts.

    'Patient wait'
    In 2008 the European Court of Human Rights dismissed an appeal on grounds of security.

    We now look to France to fulfil its treaty obligations under international law ”

    Mejinderpal Kaur
    United Sikhs
    It said that whilst Shingara Singh's religious rights had been infringed, France was justified to ban the turban on the driver's licence photo because the turban posed a security risk of fraud and falsification.

    That is when Ranjit Singh decided to file a case to the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC). It has now judged that a turban does not pose a risk to security.

    In its judgement, reached in July but only now revealed, the UNHRC said: "Even if the obligation to remove the turban for the identity photograph might be described as a one-time requirement, it would potentially interfere with the author's (Ranjit Singh's) freedom of religion on a continuing basis."

    The committee also said that France had failed to explain how the Sikh turban hindered identification since the wearer's face would be visible and he would be wearing it at all times.

    Therefore, it argued, the regulation constituted a violation of Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

    "I had faith that truth and justice would prevail and I patiently waited for this day," said Ranjit Singh.

    "I pray that France will now fulfil its obligation and grant me a residence card bearing my photo without baring my head."

    Mejinderpal Kaur of United Sikhs, which backed Mr Singh's case, said: "We now look to France to fulfil its treaty obligations under international law and its moral duty to ensure that the freedom of religion and belief is upheld for everyone who lives within its territory."

    The news was welcomed by Sikhs around the world.

    Mrs Praneet Kaur, Indian minister of state for external affairs, said she was "very happy with the UN's decision and... for making everyone realise what the turban means to Sikhs".
    BBC News - UN human rights body backs French Sikhs on turbans
     
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  2. Bill_Maher

    Bill_Maher FULL MEMBER

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    From the government's POV, if they grant that privilege to one ethnic group, it would most likely be construed as leniency towards one group, and discrimination against others. So no, I don't believe Mr. Singh will ever get his passport picture with his turban in it.
     
  3. Prometheus

    Prometheus SENIOR MEMBER

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    there is a differance of sikhs case and other cases.............Turban is mandatory for all sikhs .........it doesnt matter if they are Indian,canadian or french.
    whereas with other cases............its not mandatory to wear a burka or carry a Cross everytime.
     
  4. Ziras

    Ziras FULL MEMBER

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    well at least they dont get criminalized for wearing turban....unlike muslim women..
    the/ they talk of democracy and women rights.
     
  5. Bill_Maher

    Bill_Maher FULL MEMBER

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    It will still be perceived as favoritism towards another ethnic/religious group by others who are equally eager to flaunt their faith around. I'm neutral on this whole issue, but the reality is what I mentioned is exactly how other religious/ethnic groups will perceive it.
     
  6. livingdead

    livingdead ELITE MEMBER

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    I second that. The moment you allow one group, others will demand the same.
     
  7. Ziras

    Ziras FULL MEMBER

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    you and many others will back just about anything which leads to muslims not getting their rights.
     
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  8. Yeti

    Yeti BANNED

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    Sikh turban can't be compared to the hijab because for Sikhs it is compulsory unlike burkha/hijab.
     
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  9. KS

    KS ELITE MEMBER

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    Anything that doesn't obstruct the immediate identification of a person should be fine I guess.
     
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  10. Patriot

    Patriot ELITE MEMBER

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    It only exposes your hypocrisy and bigotry!
     
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  11. Yeti

    Yeti BANNED

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    Sikhs have to wear the turban it is part of their religion like the 5 K's but it is not compulsory to wear the hijab or burkha, nothing to do with bigotry or hypocrisy.

    ---------- Post added at 11:00 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:59 AM ----------

    The 5 Ks are 5 physical symbols worn by Sikhs who have been initiated into the Khalsa.

    The five Ks are:
    •Kesh (uncut hair)
    •Kara (a steel bracelet)
    •Kanga (a wooden comb)
    •Kaccha - also spelt, Kachh, Kachera (cotton underwear)
    •Kirpan (steel sword)
     
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  12. Bill_Maher

    Bill_Maher FULL MEMBER

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    fixed it for you.....
    unless you meant something else.....
     
  13. silko

    silko SENIOR MEMBER

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    what else can you expect from "freedom France" "the Europes best democracy"

    making laws who ban people from using their clothings of choise. i agree, Muslim women dont have to wear Hijab or Burqa, but it says clearly in the Quran that Muslim women has to cover specific parts of their body.

    where is "religious freedom" now?

    so much for French freedom, what a **** country!
     
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  14. Smarterthanyou

    Smarterthanyou BANNED

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    Not being familiar with Sikh culture, I had a question for the Indians here. I was under the impression that hair not being cut was the religious edict and not hair being shown. Is that not so?
     
  15. illusion8

    illusion8 ELITE MEMBER

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    I haven't seen a sikh man without the turban, though I have seen muslim women without the burqa, muslim men without the skull cap, jews without their skull cap. do u get the picture? What other ethnic groups are u talking about, among whom some individuals haven't already given up their traditional or religious outfit?

    ---------- Post added at 10:41 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:39 PM ----------

    For a sikh the turban is mandatory without which he is not a sikh.