House resolution introduced on protection of Hindus, Sikhs in Afghanistan

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Afghan Sikh men carry the coffin of one of the victims of yesterday’s blast in Jalalabad city, Afghanistan July 2, 2018. REUTERS/Parwiz

Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) recently introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives  “Condemning targeted terrorist attacks against members of the Sikh, Hindu, and other religious minority communities in Afghanistan and supporting refugee protection for Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan in recognition of the systematic religious persecution, discrimination, and existential danger faced by the members of these communities.”

The resolution  H. Res. 1085, introduced Aug. 14, 2020, recognizes that “Sikhs and Hindus are indigenous but endangered minorities in Afghanistan, numbering approximately 700 out of a community that recently included over 8,000 members” and that “members of the Sikh and Hindu communities face existential danger in Afghanistan.”

  1. Res. 1085 was referred the same day to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and the Judiciary Committee.

In addition to Rep. Speier, H. Res. 1085 has ten cosponsors as of Aug. 24: Reps. John Garamendi (D-CA), TJ Cox (D-CA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Andre Carson (D-IN), James McGovern (D-MA), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Haley Stevens (D-MI), and Judy Chu (D-CA)

“We commend Congresswoman Speier for introducing a resolution on this important humanitarian issue,” Hindu American Foundation Director of Public Policy Taniel Koushakjian is quoted saying in a press release from HAF. “As Americans, we know first hand the devastating effects of international Islamist terror groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda as well as the need to eliminate them and the support they receive from the Haqqani network and state sponsors of terror who really are at the root of this evil.” Koushakjian added.

The resolution “supports resettling Sikhs and Hindus from Afghanistan in the United States under the United States Refugee Admissions Program pursuant to section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1157).”

The HAF credited the Government of India with playing an active role in providing humanitarian assistance to persecuted religious minorities in neighboring Afghanistan, including refugee resettlement and transport for those caught in the crosshairs of terrorists.

“Hindu Americans and all human rights activists applaud Prime Minister Modi and his government for stepping in and saving lives in the middle of a global pandemic,” Koushakjian said. The first wave of refugees,11 Afghan Hindus and Sikhs, arrived in New Delhi on July 26, 2020.

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