March 28, 2020
Right Honorable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Willington Street,
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau:
We understand that at this present time, you, members of every level of our Canadian government and all of us are affected and responding to counter the Covid-19 pandemic. Your resources and focus are aligned to protect us and our Canadian economy.
Unfortunately in the midst of it all, we came to know of the cold blooded murders of innocent men, women and children in Kabul, Afghanistan. They were killed just because they belonged to a religious minority in that area and were practicing their Sikh faith. There are a few others who were seriously injured and many more who are now fighting for their lives. During this critical time, with much hope we ask that you please make yet another tough but much needed choice of protecting the remaining 350 (approx.) Sikhs and Hindus in the Kabul area. They are in an immediate threat of losing their lives and are stranded in two gurudwaras. We can’t even imagine the fear, pain and suffering they must be living through.
Our Canadian government has done a world class, exemplary work for the asylum seekers from around the world in consonance with the Canadian spirit of multiculturalism and a pluralistic approach to rehabilitating people from many conflict zones. We also feel proud of our government and are thankful that under your guidance, a few Sikh families in similar situations from Afghanistan were granted home in Canada while working closely with The Manmeet Singh Bhullar Foundation and other concerned individuals and groups. Unfortunately, many other such files submitted at that time are still moving between desks while lives are being lost. We think that us Canadians can do more and should do more to give direct sponsorship to these impacted families.
Today, as Canadians and members of the Our Global Village Charitable Foundation (OGV), who have been tirelessly working from many years to protect and raise awareness about human rights, call upon you to take immediate, urgent and long impacting steps in line with the Canadian ethos of being a refugee-friendly country that greatly values human rights.
Those impacted families, need us Canadians and are calling for help. In the long run, our charity and its supporters can and will do all that would be required to support and take care of these families if you would allow them a direct sponsorship.
For the immediate relief and assurance, we humbly suggest for a small number of our brave troops, who are part of the allied forces, and are still in Afghanistan, to be immediately deployed for the protection of these Sikhs and Hindus in Kabul until they leave Afghanistan for a safer place.
We are aware that incomplete, incorrect or lack of documentation is the reality of all third world countries, but matters are even worse in Afghanistan. Please see if you find it beneficial to ask representatives of UNAMA, the ICRC and the UNHCR to assist the families in completion of documentation to help them move to whichever country of their choice.
In the middle of all these sufferings, uncertainty and fear of loss of lives, it is comforting to know that a Canadian career diplomat Ms. Deborah Lyons has been appointed as the Special Representative and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). We understand that UNAMA is mandated to provide relief and assistance to the people of Afghanistan, especially the traumatized minorities -Sikhs and Hindus. It would be assuring to know if you could please consult with her to consider UNAMA immediately transfering the Sikh and Hindu population to any of the safe havens of the UNAMA in the war-torn country. Your prompt action will save many innocent lives and speak loudly about our Canadian values.
We are closing this letter in hope that our Canadian government will consider taking immediate steps towards providing security to those families until they are moved to a safer and secure environment. We would look forward to hearing a positive response from you on this matter and especially regarding granting of a direct sponsorship to this small group of people who are facing persecution, conflict, violence, and human rights violations.
On behalf of OGV family and friends