**UK Government being urged to take up Indian response to the farmers protest at UN Security Council
Sanctions possible as there is a serious threat to peace under Article 39 of the United Nations Charter
UK Government under pressure to demand India immediately release Jagtar Singh Johal from prison and allowed to return to his family in the UK**
Monday 15 February 2021
Following the Sikh Parliamentary lobby on human rights last week all UK MPs have today been sent a detailed action note (see attached). Preet Kaur Gill MP, the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for British Sikhs following the issues raised at the lobby is expected to write to ask the Foreign Secretary for an urgent meeting.
At the meeting with the Foreign Secretary the two key issues to be discussed will be the serious human rights violations against farmers protesting in Delhi and the need to take urgent action demanding India immediately release Jagtar Singh Johal from prison and returning him to his family in the UK.
Pressure on the UK Government to take tougher action on the farmers protest is increasing with growing demands for a UK Parliamentary debate and action at the UN Security Council.
The UK is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and is currently the Chair and will be followed by the US. Under Article 39 of the United Nations Charter the Security Council can in country-specific situations determine the existence of a threat to peace.
The farmers protest is seen as the world’s largest ever protest, has been continuing for months with no sign of a resolution and matters have escalated in the last couple of weeks with serious violations of human rights. It could be argued under Article 41 of the Charter of the United Nations the Security Council could impose sanctions against India. The UN Security Council can resort to sanctions as an enforcement tool when peace has been threatened and diplomatic efforts have failed.
A UK Parliamentary e-petition on the farmers protest has already had 115,000 signatures that should result in a Parliamentary debate. An associated UK Parliamentary e-petition focused on the UK Government making strong representations directly with India, at the UN Human Rights Council and UN Security Council condemning the widespread human rights violations against farmers, journalists and activists has been submitted and is in the process of being approved. Both petitions would be debated together by MPs in the House of Commons.
The UK Government is being pressed to raise concerns with regards to the treatment, abuse, attacks, arrests and disappearance of farmers protesting; restrictions on the internet and harassment, arrest, sexual abuse and imprisonment of journalists and activists like Nodeep Kaur a 23-year-old Dalit labour activist and Disha Ravi a 22-year old climate activist.
The UK Government is also being asked to work with other member states and NGOs like Amnesty International. Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists who have in the last few days all condemned the Indian Government’s handling of the farmers protest. The objective is to ensure the farmers protest is discussed and actions agreed at the 46th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council from 22 February to 23 March 2021.
Over 80 MPs and Peers from all the main political parties have already signed a joint letter produced by Reprieve that will be sent to the Foreign Secretary. The letter makes clear Jagtar Singh Johal has been held in arbitrary detention for nearly three and half years and there is a risk he could be given the death penalty. Urgent action is therefore required from the Foreign Secretary to demand India immediately release Jagtar from prison and return him to his family in the UK.
Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said: _“The serious human rights violations of the Indian Government against farmers peacefully protesting to protect their families, livelihoods and very existence have been exposed to the international community.”
“The Indian Government must be held to account at the United Nations for its actions against farmers and should have no place to hide.”
“There is also considerable pressure from UK MPs and Reprieve for the UK Government to demand India immediately release Jagtar Singh Johal from prison as it is clear he is being arbitrarily detained and should be allowed to return to his family in the UK.”_
ENDS Harnek Singh National Press Secretary Sikh Federation (UK)