By Asia Samachar Team | UNITED STATES |
A Sikh organisation has called upon President Donald Trump to take executive action to provide immediate safe harbor to Sikhs and Hindus who are being forced to flee their own homes in Afghanistan.
The Afghan minority communities have been facing terror attacks for years now, with the latest and most deadly blow coming on 25 March when 25 people were killed at Gurdwara Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji in Kabul.
Ever since the latest attack, Sikh organisations, especially in the US and Canada, have ramped up efforts to assist the small number of Sikhs and Hindus left in Afghanistan to find a way out of the country that has seen increasing attacks upon the minorities.
In the US, humanitarian agency United Sikhs have reached out to the U.S. State Department and the American Sikh Caucus Committee (ASCC) to find a resolution.
United Sikhs chief legal counsel and acting national legal director Wanda Sanchez Day said President Trump’s and the US’ stated commitment to protecting religious freedom around the world was at this moment being tested.
“Sikhs, Hindus, and other ethnoreligious groups, who during 18 years of war in Afghanistan following 9/11 were protected by the United States and coalition military forces, are now in harm’s way. This is especially true, and was foreseeable, after February 29, 2020, U.S.-Taliban Agreement and the March 2020 withdrawal of U.S. military personnel.
“The U.S. should rightfully include protections for these religious minorities as part of the Taliban- Afghanistan peace-making process. Those protections should include granting political asylum to victims of religious persecution,” she said in a statement released today.
ASCC executive director Harpreet Singh Sandhu said it has reached out to Congress members John Garamendi, Jim Costa, Eliot Engel, and the House Foreign Affairs Committee members, as well as Senator Dick Durban and international leaders.
“We are presently waiting for a response from the Trump Administration on what will be done to assist Sikhs and other religious minorities who are forced to flee Afghanistan,” he was quoted in the same statement.
United Sikhs international humanitarian aid director Gurvinder Singh said the organisation have had numerous discussions with the State Department.
He said U.S. ambassador on religious freedoms Sam Brownback has been key to establishing a direct dialogue with India and Pakistan on the issue.
“We hope the U.S. and the Trump Administration can keep these religious minority communities safe from further attacks, and offer resettlement given the immediate and real threat,” he said.
There are hopes that the international community will help and that India will accommodate many Sikh and Hindu refugees who have family ties in that country. Pakistan, Canada, UK, and the U.S. are also likely safe havens for Sikhs and Hindus who must re-settle, the statement added.
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