Saying freedom of religion is a “fundamental right,” Cloverdale-Langley City Conservative MP Tamara Jansen has again called upon the federal government to take action against religious persecution of Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan.
Jansen, the deputy shadow cabinet minister for labour, made the call after she took part in a Saturday, May 16th videoconference event entitled Afghan Sikhs: The Way Forward.
Organized by United Sikhs, the event included Liberal MP James Maloney (Etobicoke – Lakeshore, ON) and Chabul Singh Khalsa, a Sikh who lives in Afghanistan.
Moderator Jagdeep Singh, executive director of United Sikhs, said the goal was to create a “non-partisan” Canadian response to the religious persecution of Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan that has reduced a population that once numbered in the hundreds of thousands to just hundreds.
The conference was held in the wake of last month’s attack by gunmen and suicide bombers on a Sikh religious complex in the Afghan capital of Kabul that saw 25 people murdered before security forces killed the attackers. Islamic State militants have claimed responsibility.
Khalsa, speaking from Afghanistan, described the situation for Sikhs in Kabul as unsafe and insecure.
“There is no security,” Khalsa commented.
“Freedom of religion is a fundamental right, and we need to stand up for it all around the world, wherever it is threatened,” said MP Jansen.
“It’s time for the Government of Canada to take action to help Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan whose very lives are in danger.”
MP Jansen sponsored a petition at www.TamaraJansenMP.ca in late March that calls on the Minister of Foreign Affairs to “strongly advocate with his Afghan counterpart on behalf of persecuted religious minorities” and to create a special program to allow persecuted Sikhs and other persecuted religious minorities to leave Afghanistan and come to Canada.
“Canada has a strong record of supporting freedom of religion, human rights and the rule of law,” said MP Jansen.
“I ran on a promise to stand up for freedom, and that’s what my Conservative colleagues and I will do every day, both in Ottawa and our home ridings.”
“I hope the government will finally take decisive action to protect Afghan Sikhs, and work to end the persecution they face.”