Workshop on Human Rights Education and Activism
Highlighted the Persecution of Sindhis in Pakistan
CALGARY, Several dozen Sindhi-Canadians from Calgary, Alberta gathered in a local community hall in Calgary this Saturday, July 20th, 2013 for a seminar to highlight human rights situation in Sindh, Pakistan.
Sindh, historically a Sufi country, is now a southeastern province of Pakistan and home to more than 30 million Sindhis. Sindhis, strong supporters of democracy and secularism, are now marginalized by Pakistan’s government and its pan-Islamist ideology.
World Sindhi Congress (WSC), Canada Chapter has been organizing Sindhi culture celebrations and its values of tolerance and peace, and activism and human-rights education workshops.
The seminar featured prominent Canadian peace and human rights organizations; among the distinguished speakers were Ms. Kelly Dowdell, Director of Programs, Calgary Centre for Global Community, Ms. Linda McKay-Panos, The Executive Director, Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre, Mr. George Calliou, The Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary, Mr. Mazhar Memon of Sindhi Association of North America, and Mr. Frahan Kaghzi, World Sindhi Congress
“Alberta-Sindhis are a strong community with good global and local sensibilities. We wish to provide them opportunities to share and learn through this meet-up. It is a social gathering but the purpose is to provide some pointers on how we can integrate activism, human rights into our daily lives and how best to work with other fellow Canadians in bringing the plight of Sindh to the world,” said Asif Panhwar, Organizer of the WSC Canada Chapter in his welcome speech.
Ms. Kelly Dowdell spoke about activism, her experience and programs of Calgary Centre for Global Community and invited participants to get involved in local and grass-root organizations and take responsibility to their part.
Mr. Mazhar Memon, presented the overview of Sindh’s history and current political and social situation in Sindh.
Ms. Linda McKay-Panos educated participants about the international, Canadian, provincial and local laws about the human rights and civil rights. She spoke in detail about the process of legislation to becoming a law and their enforcement and implementation.
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Mr. George Calliou, spoke about the discrimination by the government and ruling class inflicted on the First Nations of Canada. He emphasized about the importance of laws and policies of preserving and promotion of indigenous languages.
Mr. Farhan Kaghzi, Sr. Vice Chairperson of World Sindhi Congress, shared about the World Sindhi Congress’s activities and its political struggle through advocacy. “Sindhis are demanding right of self-determination as Pakistan government has betrayed Sindhis and rights of Sindh can be achieved by non-violence struggle,” said Mr. Kaghzi.
A young fellow Maanak Soomro played Violin, Ms. Hadiya Qazi sung a beautiful Sindhi song and Ms. Shahida Soomro was the Master of Ceremony of the event.
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All the speakers were presented appreciation certificates and Sindhi traditional scarfs (Ajraks) by the World Sindhi Congress (WSC), Canada Chapter.
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In concluding remarks, Mr. Siraj Makhdoom, thanked to all participants and volunteers. “Grass root events like this connect us locally and globally,” said Mr. Makhdoom.
Meet-up was concluded after a delicious refreshment.