SFJ Submits Legal Opinion To UN Secretary General Before India’s Visit
London (September 24, 2018) Ahead of United Nations Secretary General’s Oct 3rd planned visit to Golden Temple during his upcoming trip to India, International advocacy group “Sikhs For Justice” (SFJ) in a press briefing in London on Sept 24t, released the legal opinion “Self Determination For The Sikh Peoples – An overview of International Law” that was submitted to his excellency António Guterres with emphasis on “Referendum 2020”, which is a democratic process for Sikhs to vote for or against an independent homeland within Punjab, India.
Providing supporting documents on Indian Constitution’s usurpation of Sikh religious identity, June 1984 Amritsar massacre – Indian army invasion of Golden Temple, November 1984 Anti-Sikh genocidal violence, a decade of extrajudicial killing of Sikhs and now illegal detention and torture of Referendum 2020, campaigners, SFJ’s Sept 24th communiqué to Secretary-General António Guterres states “We respectfully request that you urge the Indian Government (i) to respect the Sikh’s right to hold Referendum 2020 and (ii) to stop violating Sikh’s basic human rights.”
Before the Indian government escalates rights violations which can culminate in systematic violence against Referendum campaigners, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal advisor to SFJ stated “Through legal opinion and documentation, We are putting UN Sec Gen on notice that Referendum 2020, is a democratic process for Sikhs to vote for or against an independent homeland within Punjab but Indian State authorities continue to commit grave human rights violations in their quest to stop this referendum”.
Citing International Law of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in Respect of Kosovo, “As per international law, peoples who have been denied self-determination within their parent state may, in exceptional circumstances, lawfully pursue external self-determination via secession and independence” further added attorney Pannun.
Quoting the advisory opinion of International Court of Justice, attorney Pannun who practices human rights laws stated that “a sub-group (the Sikhs) may lawfully conduct an independence referendum – and even declare independence – without the agreement of the parent state (in this case, India).”
“Your Excellency, due to the relentless persecution and oppressive by India, Sikhs face an existential threat within their ancestral homeland. It is essential that the Sikh People are given an opportunity to voice their opinion on the question of external self- determination through Referendum 2020. We welcome your intervention during your upcoming trip to India and the Punjab.” concludes SFJ’s communiqué to UN Secretary General.