Sikh Assembly of America’s urgent appeal to condemn violation of int’l law and human rights at Punjab Farmers Protest

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Sikh Assembly of America
Farmers carry placards at a site of a protest against the newly passed farm bills at Singhu border near Delhi, India, November 28, 2020. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis

WASHINGTON, DC, FEB 20 — With deep concern and strong condemnation, the Sikh Assembly of America is recognizing the grave violations of international law and human rights occurring at the farmer’s protest in Punjab, India.

Peaceful protesters advocating for fair agricultural reforms are being met with an alarming level of force, including the use of advanced weaponry such as Long-Range Acoustic Devices (LRADs), lethal fire, and tear gas drones.

Sikh Assembly of America

Recent reports from international human rights organizations including Amnesty International, have exposed the horrific and escalating crackdown on the peaceful farmers’ march, with increasing restrictions that threaten the fundamental right to peaceful protest.

These peaceful demonstrations, aimed at securing better opportunities for hard working farmers, have been met with disproportionate and harmful force, which is deeply troubling and unacceptable.

Intelligence reports have also alarmingly exposed the police use of sonic weapons known as LRADs, or ‘sound cannons’, against the protesters. These devices, typically seen in military and naval combat situations, have been used to deter peaceful demonstrators, potentially causing permanent hearing damage and other serious distress.

The deployment of such weaponry against peaceful protesters starkly violates international law’s principles of proportionality and necessity. Credible reports have also highlighted the deployment of tear gas drones against the protesters.

This method of crowd control, which involves dispersing tear gas from the sky, poses severe respiratory risks and other health complications. This excessive use of force against peaceful protesters is a gross violation of their human rights.

It is crucial to uphold the farmers’ rights to peaceful protest, hold accountable those responsible for these violations, and engage in sincere negotiations to address their demands. Moreover, we implore the United States Congress and the White House to recognize and condemn these violations of international law and human rights.

We urge them to use their influence to press the Indian government to cease these harmful actions, engage in sincere dialogue with the protesters, and ensure their rights are respected and protected. The situation in Punjab calls for immediate and effective international attention and intervention.

We must ensure that the voices of the farmers are heard, that their rights are protected, and that their just demands are addressed. We stand in solidarity with the farmers of Punjab and will relentlessly continue to amplify their voices in their struggle for justice, dignity, and fair agricultural reforms.

The Sikh Assembly of America consists of thousands of internationally concerned global citizens who work to ensure the protection of marginalized communities world-wide.