Resolutions from SANSAD Meeting in Vancouver, B.C.

SANSAD is an organization of Secular and Democratic South Asian Diaspora in Greater Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy held its Annual General Meeting on June 13, 2010 and elected a board with representation from Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, and Nepali communities in the Vancouver area of British Columbia.

The meeting adopted a resolution mourning the passing of Hari Sharma, the founding president of SANSAD, who had been the driving force behind the organization, and committing the members to carrying forward the work of promoting democracy, secularism, human rights, social justice, and peace with the inspiration of Hari’s memory.

The following board was elected: Chinmoy Banerjee (president); Harsha Walia (vice president); Nila Somaia (Secretary); Abi Ghimire (Treasurer); Amal Rana, Chelliah Premrajah, Habiba Zaman, Haider Nizamani, Harjap Grewal, Imran Munir, Zahid Makhdoom (members at large); Abid Pittalwala, Col. Shafaat Ali (honorary members).

Following the AGM a public educational forum on “Globalization and Militarism in South Asia” adopted the following resolutions:

1.      Whereas the adivasis (tribal people) of India have been systematically neglected, oppressed and displaced in independent, modernizing India,

And whereas more recent neo-liberal globalization of the Indian economy has intensified this oppression in the interest of multi-national companies keen to extract the mineral resources under their land

And whereas the adivasis, under the leadership of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) have taken up armed struggle to defend their land, forest, water, and livelihood

And whereas the Government of India is engaged in undeclared war against these tribals under the code name of “Operation Green Hunt,” has declared the CPI (Maoist) a “terrorist organization” and has attempted to silence the voices of human rights activists critical of its operations

Therefore be it resolved that we demand that the Government of India cease its military operations against the adivasis, remove the label of “terrorist” from the CPI (Maoist) and engage in negotiations to seek a political solution to the issues involved.

2.       Whereas the prolonged civil war in Sri Lanka ended in 2009 with the massacre of over 20, 000 innocent civilians by the Sri Lankan army, leaving 12,000 still missing,

And whereas the Sri Lankan government never permitted any international organization to visit the war-ravaged areas

And whereas Amnesty International has expressed particular concern for war crimes committed in the conclusion of the war and strongly criticized the UN for its failure to intervene in defense of human rights in Sri Lanka and the International Crisis Group (ICG) has called for an international inquiry into war crimes in Sri Lanka

And whereas the United Nation’s proposal to hold an international inquiry has been opposed by the Government of Sri Lanka,

Therefore be it resolved that we demand that the UN proceed with the institution of an international inquiry into the war crimes of the Government of Sri Lanka and we further demand that the Government of Sri Lanka allow the thousands of displaced people currently in camps to return to their lands with dignity and support to rebuild their lives and livelihood.

3.        Whereas on May 28, 2010 nearly one hundred Ahmedis were massacred during prayers in two mosques in Lahore by armed militants

And whereas this heinous crime has taken place within the environment of hate against Ahmedis created by constitutional and legal discrimination against them and other religious minorities in Pakistan,

Therefore be it resolved  that we express our grief for the  Ahmedi community and demand that the Government of Pakistan take measures to end the systemic and institutionalized discrimination against Ahmedis and other minorities that create a culture of impunity for attacks against them;

4. Whereas Israel has committed an act of piracy, murder and kidnapping in its assault on the international flotilla taking humanitarian aid to Gaza on May 31, 2010 during which it has killed 19 unarmed civilians,

Therefore be it resolved that we condemn Israel for this attack as for the continued blockade of Gaza which made this humanitarian mission necessary;

We further condemn the Government of Canada for its support of and complicity in Israel’s many crimes against the people of Palestine;

We further demand an independent investigation into Israel’s latest criminal act in international waters and join the call of the international civil society for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

5.        Whereas Nepal has been in a state of constitutional crisis with the expiry of the term of its parliament, which has now been extended for one year on condition that the prime minister resign,

And whereas the formation of a national unity government is essential to take the peace process in Nepal to its logical end of creating a constitution that is democratic, secular and republican,

Therefore be it resolved that we demand the immediate resignation of the government in Nepal to re-establish a culture of national consensus and cooperation that is needed to form a national unity government.

6.     Whereas the dynamics of neo-liberal globalization in Bangladesh have produced a massive displacement of agricultural labour and driven people from the countryside to seek employment in other countries as super-exploited migrant labour,

And whereas these migrant workers are forced to live in slave-like conditions without the protection of any legislation,

Therefore be it resolved that we demand that the Government of Bangladesh enact appropriate legislation to protect the citizens of Bangladesh who seek employment abroad as migrant workers.

7.       Whereas the tribal people of the Chittagong Hills in Bangladesh have long waged a struggle to retain control over their lands and culture and to govern themselves according to their own ways,

And whereas the Peace Accord signed with the Government of Bangladesh in this regard has not yet been fully implemented by the Government of Bangladesh,

Therefore be it resolved that we urge the Government of Bangladesh to fully and truly implement the Peace Accord immediately in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD)

# 435-552A Clark Road, Coquitlam, BC;

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