Posted by: Singh Is King | Sunday, November 4, 2007

Sikhs Prepare Database Of Human Rights Violators In India

human_rights_watch.jpg On the 23rd anniversary of the anti-Sikh pogroms of November 1984 the Sikh Federation (UK), working with leading Sikh organisations in the USA, Canada, Australia and other parts of Europe has started work on the setting up of a database of wanted human rights violators.

At the lobby in the UK Parliament this week the Federation pledged that in the first 12 months relevant information and witness statements are to be collected for up to 500 Indian politicians, police officers, army personnel and police ‘cats’. Those that will be identified will be those involved in torture, genocide and crimes against humanity and police ‘cats’ that were used by the police to kill innocent people to both discredit the Sikh freedom movement and justify extrajudicial killings by the Indian authorities.
A coalition of Sikh lawyers from the UK, USA, Canada and other countries will be tasked with analysing the evidence collected and select cases where prosecutions may be an option. At the lobby in the UK Parliament it was suggested by Brad Adams, the Asia Director at Human Rights Watch, that the level of proof required to successfully prosecute individuals from India when they travel abroad would require considerable evidence and resources.

It was suggested by leading politicians, several ex-Ministers, that the strategy should involve diplomatic pressure on the Indian Government to put its own house in order with respect to human rights violations by governments in the UK and the rest of Europe. This could be combined with the second element of the strategy. Namely, in the first 12 months to provide Governments across the globe with details of 500 Indian politicians, police officers, police ‘cats’ and army personnel involved in torture, genocide and crimes against humanity, that could be used to prevent those individuals leaving India. This was likely to prove the most effective method of bringing about pressure for change.

Human Rights Watch has agreed to work with the Sikh Federation (UK) to assist with providing guidance on the type of information that should be collected for both prosecutions and to provide to governments so the 500 to be targeted can be successfully excluded from Europe and other parts of the world. Amnesty International and other leading human rights groups are being approached to assist with this process.

It is hoped that a number of Indian politicians and hundreds of police officers, army personnel and police ‘cats’ will either be prevented from travelling abroad or will fear that if they travel abroad they could face the prospect of arrest, prosecution and imprisonment when they leave India. In a letter by a Home Office Minister, received on the eve of the Sikh lobby by Rob Marris MP, the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for UK Sikhs, it was confirmed that certain individuals involved in torture and other human rights violations could either be excluded from entering the UK or could asked to leave if they have entered.

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At the Sikh lobby in the UK Parliament on Tuesday Sikhs came one step closer in securing the banning of KPS Gill from Europe.  Bhai Amrik Singh, Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK), said ‘he is at the top of the twenty most wanted for crimes of torture, genocide and other human rights violations’. Others believed to be in the top twenty of Indian politicians, police officers, army personnel and police ‘cats’ that have committed crimes against Sikhs are the Congress MP Jagdish Tytler, SSP Swaran ‘Ghotna’ and Mohammed Izhar Alam.

Brad Adams, the Asia Director at Human Rights Watch, speaking at the All Party Parliamentary Group for UK Sikhs meeting in Parliament suggested there was considerable stigma attached with being excluded from travelling to a country like the UK, other EU countries, the US or Canada.  For example, he suggested to politicians present that it would be a positive development if the UK Government and others in Europe were to tell India that the likes of KPS Gill, the former police chief in Punjab, that he would no longer be allowed to visit any of the 27 EU countries.

At the Sikh lobby it was disclosed that on 8 October and again on 23 October Lord West of Spithead, the Home Office Minister responsible for Security and Counter-terrorism, wrote to say ‘the Government is fully committed to meetings its obligations under international law and continues to support strongly international efforts to bring perpetrators of crimes against humanity to justice.’

The Home Office Minister confirmed the ‘Jurisdiction to prosecute offences of torture exists under Section 134 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988. Where allegations are made against individuals visiting or resident in the UK, the police and immigration authorities will take all possible steps to investigate those matters and, where appropriate, refer a case for prosecution or removal from the UK. It is the Government’s policy that the United Kingdom should not provide safe haven to anyone found responsible for major human rights abuses or serious crimes abroad.’

A Sikh Federation (UK) spokesman said: ‘We want to make sure EU countries do not allow those that have the blood of Sikhs on their hands to be allowed to leave the relative safety of India.

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