Ottawa (February 19, 2013): The World Sikh Organization of Canada commends the Federal Government of Canada on the launch of Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom. Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the announcement today in Maple, Ontario.
The Office of Religious Freedom, which will be an arm of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, has been announced as an attempt to make protection of religious freedoms, particularly of vulnerable minorities, a key pillar of Canada’s foreign policy.
WSO Senior Policy Advisor Gian Singh Sandhu said, “Canada has historically been a leader in the field of human rights and it is certainly laudable that the Canadian government has created the Office of Religious Freedom to advocate for freedom of religion internationally. As Canadians who enjoy great freedoms here in Canada, it is our duty to stand up for the rights of all oppressed people across the world.”
WSO President Prem Singh Vinning said, “a key teaching of the Sikh faith is that all persons must be guaranteed freedom of religion and conscience. Millions of people across the world today face persecution solely because of their religion. The Sikh community is sadly all too familiar with religious persecution and the infringement of religious rights, whether it is the sad legacy of violence against Sikhs in India in 1984 and after, the ban on the Sikh turban in French schools, or current issues faced by Pakistan’s Sikh community. We are hopeful that the Office of Religious Freedom will have a positive impact.”
The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of Canadian Sikhs, as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status