What is a mountain?

writes IDS Doctoral Researcher and Tutor Ru–Yu Lin

*The views in the following article are the personal views of the author and are not an official position of the School.*

When people ask me what my research focuses on, my answer tends to deliver a romanticised version of reality, since I conducted part of my research in the Easter Himalayas.

The Himalayan Mountain system ranges across Bhutan, India, Nepal, China, and Pakistan. My research focuses on the area between Tibet and Assam. Himalaya means ‘abode of the snow’ however, the snow reduction in this area has been an alarming issue in the past three decades.

Photo by Mamun Srizon on Unsplash

I have worked in a very small village during my fieldwork, using anthropological methods with a development studies kind of twist. The village, including the neighboring three natural settlements, has no more than 2000 registered residents, and half of the population is constantly on seasonal migration. Migrants have two arrays of setting out and returning: moving along with experienced highland cattle or moving down to the lowlands, to study or work. Resource–wise, their intentions and aspirations are not hugely different. But the process of shifting the destinations could tell us more about the most important driver of social and economic change in two generations. That is the further integration with the nation–state and capitalist market. The courses of the epistemological change of the small–scattered human settlement in the Himalayan region are quite similar.

These people used to perceive the environment entirely as part of a belief system about life. In this system, every entity has a name, and there is no general concept of nature or culture.

My research question was written in alignment with the language that includes terms like nature and culture. Thus, my first assignment was on how to find the common ground between these two worldviews.

When I tried to figure out their rule of categorization by the wording, and interpret the unspoken parts, I engaged with the speakers, followed the landscape, and pronounced everything’s name with owe. By calling them by their name, I was introducing myself to the entities I was calling. For example, the waterbody and watercourse have myths and Godlike guardians attached to them, and some words describe the fertility of the soil or the origin of rain – abstract and philosophical information. I feel that these words, along with the experience of living close to my researched community for a while, turned me into a ‘worker of knowledge.

This worldview that I was presented to, adapted to the idea of property right after the total environment became the territory of modern states. The locals never considered controlling the living environment, and land trade, and pricing the access to resources, were completely unknown to them. The identity of the people my research is conducted on, was included in the protective bill that constitutionally allows the identity holder to practise a significant level of autonomy under the name of customary laws.

Perhaps reciprocally, they submit some mountainous land to the hydropower dam and military administration to contribute to national security. Engaging in this power dynamic, I was faced with the choices to position the mountain system and highland dwellers in several scenarios: perception shapes the environment, actor–network embeddedness, and assemblage of co–making of the landscape.

Photo by Sanjay Hona on Unsplash

This raises academically–interesting questions like evaluating how land–holding statuses affect the integral health of the natural environment or resource management. On the other hand, with the fame of the world’s highest top on earth, mountaineering has grown to become an absurd extreme sport which created paid jobs for mountain dwellers, as well as intolerable trash being left to continuously disturb the ecosystem. The reduction of snow permits more months in a year to operate these businesses, yet, the singly thriving dependence on commercial climbing has considerably weakened the community’s food security and sovereignty.

What is a mountain? What is the specificity of the mountain system concerning development? Mountains are often perceived as hard objects to conquer, they are borderline between nations, sacred homes of gods, and are often represented as mysterious wasteland.

Mountains are rarely considered with the histories of the people living on them; similarly, the uncertainty around mountains cannot be fully bound by human laws. Nevertheless, that uncertainty exists and is likely to exist longer than the minds that try to comprehend it.

Photo by Jason Hogan on Unsplash
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Seeds of change: agroecology in the UK and Mexico

writes International Relations student Maozya Murray

*The views in the following article are the personal views of the author and are not an official position of the School.*

Las Cañadas, an agroecological cooperative nestled deep in the misty cloud forests of Veracruz, Mexico, is showing how agroecology can provide a valuable axis around which to organise more ecologically and socially just forms of living and producing. 

Reviving the Territory  

In the Biointensive Food Garden, Paco had spent the last sixteen years; breathing new life into the soil using a method called ‘double digging‘, that improves the structure of the earth by loosening it, so plants can grow and absorb nutrients properly. One morning, he pulled two handfuls of dirt from the ground, a quiet proudness peeling the corners of his mouth into a grin. His right palm held a sandy–coloured dust, not dissimilar in quality to the chalky soil of the South Downs – a rich, dark earth; full of nutrients. ‘Here, everything we take from the soil is returned’, he explained.

The cooperative, which produces around 70% of the food needed to feed its twenty–five partners, uses an eco–technology called dry toilets, that allows them to return the nutrients in human–waste back to the soil. This technique, known as ‘terra preta’ or ’Amazonian Dark Earths’, replicates nature’s recycling system, that is capable of reconstituting 100% of the waste material in an ecosystem. 

A cyclical approach to the management of territories is at the heart of agroecology – a principle that is clearly reflected in the design of the production systems, here in Las Cañadas. Walking on the stony pathway that winds and climbs through the 305 acres of subtropical rainforest that are home to the community, it can be hard to imagine how all the modules are interconnected.  Yet, to the partners and workers at the cooperative this is second nature.  

In the early hours, when the cloud clusters hang low in the valleys, metal canisters of milk are driven over to the kitchen to be turned into cheese. Later, the whey, separated from the cheese, is fed to the sheep that graze the pastures amongst the Macadamia trees. After harvest season, the nuts will be toasted with sugar or mixed into spicy salsas, providing delicious food for the partners. This circular system of food production and land management is replenishing and enhancing the health of the territory and those who live in it. 

Working with Nature 

Producing in more circular and regenerative forms is also having a profound effect on the way people relate to their work. Knowing that none of what they produce is wasted, makes the partners proud and joyful. Learning to make queso chihuahua in the kitchen one afternoon, Aleta was careful to remind us to save the whey.  ‘Cheese is milk frozen in time’ she said, ‘it remains there only momentarily before returning to the earth through our digestive systems – there is no waste here’. The importance of her work to the wider ecosystem that sustains life in the community, allows Aleta to find meaning in every stage of the production process. To her, milk was a live organism that transformed into different states, forms and shapes; working with cheese is an honour for Aleta.  

The agroecological management of food and land systems transformed the way people interacted with the ‘natural’ world. By placing the recreation of life and the regeneration of nature at the centre of production, Las Cañadas is demonstrating that agroecology can help to reverse alienation from work, and bridge the human/nature dichotomy that justifies the extraction and exploitation of the environment. 

Shifting Social Relations  

Back in 2006, the idea had been to focus on ecological and social justice through the cooperative structure, with the hope that it would naturally bring about solidarity and community. Today, those changes begun to occur. At a political level, Las Cañadas is organised democratically, with partners voting in people’s assemblies to make decisions relating to the project. Everyone is paid equally and, in theory, there is no distinction between ‘workers’ and ‘bosses.’

The shift in social relations is a time–consuming process, but one that can have a profound effect on the way people interact with their work, and with each other.

‘I like not having a boss, it enables me, who knows the garden most intimately, to have a say in its trajectory’, says Bernado, as he rests on a hoe beneath the shade of a pear tree; brief respite from the blistering afternoon sun. ‘I work better when I don’t have someone watching over my shoulder all the time.’

For some, the cooperative simply offers better working conditions, and for others, the project felt inherently political, part of the broader transition away from the socially and ecologically exploitative relations that characterise capitalism.  

Despite differing feelings and opinions around what it meant to be a socio cooperativista, the focus on ecological and social justice shifted social relations. The interdependence of the modules and a shared commitment to agroecological food and land systems, fostered acts of solidarity and mutual aid between the partners. 

Although many of them worked alone, or in groups of two and three, each specialised in their own production system. There were many tasks that had to be done collectively. For example, on harvest day; or if there was a large area of grass that needed to be cleared. Engaging in communal work or lending a hand when needed , played a central role in building community identity and promoting non–monetary forms of exchange. The shared ownership of resources compounded these effects. 

The Movement  

I left Las Cañadas on a sunny day in late August. As the community disappeared in the rear–view mirror, it was easy to feel like the project had been a dream – impossible to enact in the ‘real’ world. But Las Cañadas does not exist in isolation. Rural peoples, communities and social movements around the world, are increasingly using agroecology as a tool to fight for environmental and social justice in the face of climate catastrophe. In the UK, agroecology is employed by movements such as the Land Workers Alliance, to fight for more sustainable farming and land–management systems. The movement is doing important work to bring questions of land redistribution and socioeconomic justice back into public debate – a dimension that has been significantly neglected by the ‘green’ agenda.

At the international level, anti–capitalist social movement  La Via Campesina, is uniting small–scale producers, migrant workers, indigenous communities, rural women, and others facing the violence of neoliberal agricultural policies, to fight for agrarian change. Representatives of the organisation sit in international policy spaces such as the UN, and have won important battles regarding the spread of agroecology and the protection of peasant and rural community rights. 

At a time when the entangled social and ecological crisis are in urgent need of radical solutions, agroecology, and the communities and movements bringing it to life, are demonstrating that more socially and environmentally sustainable ways of living and producing, are possible.  

The research for this photo essay was funded by the Nicola Anderson Memorial Bursary. A very special thank you to the Nicola Anderson family whose genuine interest in, and excitement for, the project, made it a reality.

 *Pseudonyms are used throughout the blog to de–identify participants involved in the research* 

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Progress at COP27 will be tough as incumbent powers continue to call the shots

write Peter Newell and Guy Edwards

*The views in the following article are the personal views of the author and are not an official position of the School.*

As the UN climate change talks or “COP27” get underway in Egypt, Guy Edwards, PhD student in the School of Global Studies, sat down with his supervisor, Peter Newell, Professor of International Relations, to discuss global and national climate politics. Here’s three key takeaways from their conversation.

Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

Without a power shift away from fossil fuel actors, global polluting elites and state actors working to maintain the status quo, ambitious climate action will remain elusive.

  • Newell’s last book, Power Shift, makes the case that in addition to major changes in technologies, markets, institutions and behaviours, a shift in power relations between and within countries and across political actors and societies are required to confront the climate and ecological crises.
  • While the scale of the challenge to secure a just transition to sustainable economies is staggering, encouragingly, there are cracks in the armour of incumbent powers and corporations, which can be exploited. There are many ways to deepen those cracks such as pressure from employees and shareholder activism, tighter regulations, legal challenges, and direct action by activists.
  • Another way is to weaken the fossil fuel industries’ social licence to operate. For example, activists are calling for British Cycling to cancel its new partnership with Shell, which is seen as a way for the oil major to maintain its legitimacy.
  • We also need to challenge fossil fuel actors’ arguments they are ideally placed to deliver national priorities such as energy security or job creation. For instance, the International Energy Agency reported recently that clean energy jobs now outnumber those in fossil fuels and show the greatest potential for future growth.
  • Fossil fuels companies appear rattled. Following years of climate denial and sowing doubt, they are now putting together net zero plans, which are full of loopholes and rely heavily on carbon offsets. But the fact they are acting suggests that ground is being gained and they have realized that doing nothing is no longer an option.

The proximity of fossil fuel interests to political power is a major issue as demonstrated by the recent comments by UK Climate Minister, Graham Stuart who said that fracking and oil drilling is “good for the environment” and economy.

  • In response, Newell and UCL Professor Paul Ekins debunked these claims in a letter to The Guardian raising various points such as the International Energy Agency stating that there can be no new oil, gas and coal projects if we are to achieve the 1.5C goal and that new fossil fuel projects will lock in dependency on infrastructure that will become increasingly obsolete as the UK decarbonizes.
  • One of the subtexts to these comments by Stuart is the narrative by fossil fuel actors and their supporters to use the energy crisis, driven largely by the war in Ukraine, as an opportunity to produce more fossil fuels under the pretext of energy security.
  • This assertion is weak since in the UK most new oil wells need a decade to begin producing. A far better route would be to scale up investment in renewables combined with reductions in energy demand through home insulation, heat pumps and support for public transport. This approach would allow the UK to reduce its dependency on foreign regimes, which are often not outlined with our values.

The Support for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty continues to build including from Vanuatu, the European Parliament, and the World Health Organisation.

  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that coal, oil, and gas are responsible for 86% of all carbon dioxide emissions in the past decade. The Paris Agreement does not reference fossil fuels and at present there is no global binding mechanism to limit fossil fuel production. While the commitments made by states to reduce fossil fuel consumption are encouraging, they are unlikely to deliver major reductions. For instance, the G20 and Multilateral Development Banks, are still spending at least US$55 billion per year on supporting fossil fuels abroad compared with US$29 billion for renewable energy projects.
  • A Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty would aim to phase out fossil fuels, support dependent economies, workers and communities to diversify away from fossil fuels, ensure  access to renewable energy globally and promote a just transition. Such a treaty would be complementary to the Paris Agreement, which has enough work to do on advancing mitigation, loss and damage, finance, and adaptation.
  • Countries in the Global South with newly discovered fossil fuel reserves should not feel threatened by such a treaty. These countries would not be expected to relinquish their resources for some time with the focus on OECD and other countries that would have to act first. As part of the treaty, a global transition fund would be created to support countries in the Global South to achieve a just transition.
  • A dedicated space to look specifically at fossil fuel production phase out and a just transition is gaining traction in part due to some countries’ frustration that the Paris process does not address this issue directly. Given the energy transition is unfolding in different parts of the world at various speeds, but also in quite a disorderly, unjust, disruptive fashion due to market volatility and war, the treaty would offer an institutional forum to tackle some of those issues in an equitable way.
  • Within countries, it is important to address some of the assumptions around developing fossil fuels and their supposed benefits for poverty reduction. The literature on the resource curse shows that poor people within those countries often do not really benefit. In fact, quite the reverse because when people are paying taxes, they feel like they have a say over public spending. However, in some states there is less concern about being accountable to taxpayers as fossil fuel rents are so high, which can breed corruption and a lack of transparency.
  • Some fossil fuel producers are beginning to consider the dangers of a disorderly transition, the threat of stranded assets and potential risks for public finance in a decarbonized world. The case for a more orderly exit, where there is scope for compensation, financing, and technological support, which would be included under a treaty, is getting stronger. Lastly, a look at the terms of trade or debt relief is necessary as one of the key drivers for countries to exploit fossil fuel reserves is to pay off debts.

Follow Peter Newell and Guy Edwards on Twitter who will be following developments at COP27 over the next couple of weeks.

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2022 Global Resistance module students launch solidarity campaign with Indigenous struggle against extractivism

write Global Studies students Helena Müllenbach Martínez and Lotte Jaeger

*The views in the following article are the personal views of the author and are not an official position of the School.*

When taking the final year module on Global Resistance, I was particularly looking forward to the unit on ‘Strategic Use of Law.’ I had spent the previous year working as a research assistant on a project run by the Global Resistance convenor Lara Montesinos Coleman, interviewing grassroots social movement organizers in Colombia, where I come from, about what it meant to use law strategically against the plunder caused by transnational corporations. We spoke about the extent to which using litigation could be a useful tool in their struggle for justice, but also about the law’s (many inherent) limitations for addressing systemic forms of harm, with their roots in colonialism.

For instance, the Yukpa Indigenous people, located in the Serrania del Perija in northern Colombia, are at the frontline of resistance against extractivist megamining companies such as Drummond and Glencore. The contamination from megamining projects in their territories has resulted in the death of over 42 Indigenous children between 2018 and 2019, due to malnutrition, as well as a loss of territory of 10,000 hectares of ancestral land. Water sources, that are essential for the survival of the Yukpas, continue to be cut off by the mining activities of various Western multinationals.

In February 2022, the UCU strikes were in full swing and most of our classes at university got cancelled. We were lucky that, from the first day of the Global Resistance class, ‘community’ was at the forefront of learning. Having been encouraged to form study groups, our seminar group repeatedly got together to discuss how we could collectively build transformative movements, and we felt empowered to organize our own campaign building on our Global Resistance module discussions. The week before we graduated, we invited a broad range of activists and climate justice movements to join a public event and workshop, entitled ‘Resisting Killer Corporations: Strategic Use of Law against Extractivism’, at Brighton’s ONCA gallery, with the support of the Centre for Global Political Economy and the School of Global Studies, via the Higher Education Impact Fund, collaboration with War on Want and with Yukpa, in Colombia.

As students, we discussed how the ‘rule of law’ is often immensely distant from justice. While I was in Colombia, lawyers told me that ‘despite [my] profession [I] do not believe in the law’1. Community organizers explained how ‘if the struggle remains in the judicial realm alone, you are doing a great favour to the corporation’2, as the power rooted in a larger unified social movement becomes essential when the use of litigation alone fails. This raises the question discussed at the workshop and in Coleman et al.’s book Righting Corporate Wrongs: when justice is being sought in a framework that has been built in the interests of capital rather than the people, can formal litigation ever help unveil and dismantle the violent forces beneath it? The book, which was co-produced with social movement leaders and lawyers in Colombia, describes how the corporation itself is a structural form of impunity, but also observes how social movements ‘use legal activism, not just to achieve remedy or protect legally-defined rights, but in the context of struggles for alternatives to capitalism/neoliberalism/neocolonialism’ (Coleman et al, 2019:42). The book also proposes the use of ‘strategic litigation’.

This possibility of using the law strategically whilst being aware of its inherent limitations allows us to create a campaign in solidarity with the Indigenous Yukpa community in Colombia, which we launched after the workshop.

Currently, the Yukpas are about to file a claim with the Constitutional Court, which is highlighting how extractivist practices have resulted in the physical and cultural genocide of their people. Multinationals such as Prodeco/Glencore and Drummond have created ‘zones of security’ that subsidize Colombian paramilitary squads in the area, making judicial or social resistance extremely dangerous for the community.

Nevertheless, the Yukpa’s resistance remains strong. Esneda Saavedra, the governor of the Yukpas, explained how “[We] maintained an Indigenous Guard. The paramilitaries wanted to disappear the Yukpa peoples, but we had a strong resistance; if they touch one Yukpa, they touch us all. We fight with a force that is spiritual, as well as with our bows and arrows. (…) Our ancestral knowledge will never be forgotten; it will always be there and they will never invade our minds. This knowledge is the biggest protection for our territory, and it will always be ours”3.

The Yukpa’s legal action highlights the massive discrepancy between the judicial rights of Indigenous peoples and their implementation. Despite their rightful use of the ILO’s 169 convention, which is meant to guarantee Indigenous peoples’ right for previous, free and informed consultation for extractivist projects in their territories, members of the community recall how “[We] were never consulted. They come to consult us when the damage is done. They diverted the river, it used to be a river for fishing, now there are no fish but sardines. They took that away from us, they diverted it, did whatever they wanted with the river”4.

Whilst mining activities in Colombia might feel far away, we are far from disconnected from the struggle of the Yukpas. Not only are the headquarters of these of multinational corporations, such as Glencore and Drummond, located just outside our doorstep, but we are also daily consumers of products made with the oils and minerals Glencore extracts from Indigenous lands. Most fundamentally, however, we all share the same home: We all live on, though, and from the same earth, which is a sensitive and fragile organism in itself, and whose destruction at one place has devastating consequences for its overall balance and thus, the wellbeing and survival of its inhabitants everywhere.

Based on this inherent interconnectivity and co-dependence, the Yukpas extend an invitation: “Today, Indigenous peoples have a legacy in the world, and from the Yukpa world we can say that we want to invite all those people to join in the territorial defence. Our mother nature has life, and we must take care of her, we must respect her, and this what I invite you to do”5. Thus, our aim is to fight hand in hand with the Yukpas, in order to hold Glencore accountable.

We have teamed up with people that are directly connected to the struggle such as Edward Alvarez, a Colombian sociologist that has assisted the Yukpa community for over 20 years, and Francisco Ramirez Cuellar, the lawyer that is supporting the anti-colonial strategic litigation that will be put forth by the community. We will work with the community directly, as well as organizations such as HumanConet, a Colombian-based NGO which creates audiovisual material of the resistance and runs various campaigns with the communities. The network of this strategy is ever expanding, as we seek to base our actions on the demands of the communities at the frontlines.

Our launch event for the campaign began with Colombian Cumbia music, as one of the reasons why Colombian resistance is so powerful is that it is rooted in collective joy. It was followed by an inspiring panel of speakers: we learnt from Lara Montesinos Coleman, about the possibilities and pitfalls of the strategic use of law to challenge the pervasive harm caused by the extractivist operations of multinational corporations. She was followed by Gilberto Torres, a former Colombian Union Leader who survived a brutal abduction and torture by paramilitaries for his political activities, who is currently exiled in Venezuela. Gilberto’s court case against BP in 2012 highlighted some of the limitations of litigation, as the respective judges concluded that there was no definite link between the testimonials of paramilitaries, stating that they had been paid by ‘the company’ for Gilberto’s kidnapping, and the conduct of the defendant BP and their Colombian subsidiary OCENSA. Our closing speaker was Sebastian Muñoz, Senior Programmes Officer at War on Want, who spoke about developing justice-oriented approaches to tackle the social and ecological crises, as well as the avenues of hope with the first progressive government in Colombia’s history.

Finally, we facilitated workshops that were divided into themed groups such as ‘Social Movements’, ‘Indigenous Rights’, and ‘Changing Corporate Behaviour’. In the groups formed, we brainstormed about developing a powerful and effective strategy together.

Over 30 people have signed up to take part in the campaign, with the aim of growing our network and develop a viable strategy in cooperation with the Yukpas, fighting for the corporate decolonisation of Indigenous lands, long term reparations, and for global socioeconomic justice.

Alongside the Sussex Centre for Global Political Economy, we have organised this online event on Indigenous justice and we are looking forward to ‘seeing’ you there!

In near future, we will be raising funds to bring Yukpa leaders to the AGM of Glencore, working alongside London Mining Network.

Find out more about our initiatives: hmullenbach@protonmail.com


1Interview with Francisco Ramirez Cuellar, 2020 (my own translation)
2Interview with Felipe Rodriguez, 2020 (my own translation)
3Interview with Esneda Saavedra, the governor of the six Yukpa cabildos, via the Colombian-based NGO Human Conet. For more information visit: https://humanconet.org/en/take-action-yukpa-resist/
4Interview with the members of the Yukpa community filmed and transcribed by the NGO Human Conet (2021)

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38 years on – occupation is a crime

writes Law with International Relations student Kuljit Kaur

*The views in the following article are the personal views of the author and are not an official position of the School.*

India is the world’s largest “democracy”, where human rights hold no importance. It is known that the Indian government responds with violence which includes but is not limited to police brutality, extrajudicial killings, disappearances, third degree torture, rape, and various other inhumane treatments.

This week marks 38 years since the attack on Darbar Sahib. Sikhs worldwide remember 1984 Sikh Genocide as they demand for justice till this day.

In June 1984, the PM of India, Indira Gandhi ordered an attack on the Darbar Sahib (known as the Golden Temple), including the destruction of the Akal Takht – the centre of Sikh sovereignty. This attack was backed and planned with the support of Margaret Thatcher, then PM of United Kingdom.

Planning for the military action had begun two and a half years prior to the attack, including an invasion on a replica of Darbar Sahib. Sikhs from across India came to Darbar Sahib to commemorate the martyrdom of the 5th Guru of Sikhs, Guru Arjan Dev Ji. Knowing that the congregation would have been expected to be high in numbers, 150,000 of Indian army troops were deployed to kill innocent Sikhs resulting in the biggest massacre of Sikh Pilgrims. Forty other Sikh shrines were simultaneously attacked.

On 13th June 1984, the Guardian reported that “it was a virtual massacre. A large number of women, children and pilgrims were gunned down”.

The Indian Army gained control of Darbar Sahib, with the help of a media blackout to cause maximum casualties. Innocent children were killed, the youngest, Manpreet Singh – only 18 days old shot by the Indian Army. Thousands of Sikh men were tortured and burnt alive. Code-named operation, Operation Shudikaran was ordered by the Indian state for the Indian army to rape thousands of Sikh women so they can, and this is a direct quote from Brig. RP Sinha Indian Army: “we’re going to take all the women to our camp and there we’re going to create a new breed for Punjab.” This was quoted on March 8 1991, International Women’s day.

Human rights violations and atrocities continue to occur throughout India. In an attempt to silence minorities’ voices, and the truth, India infringes on the Right to Freedom of Expression and the Right to Freedom of Press by threatening to arrest those that speak against the government of India. The censorship and harassment of media outlets includes numerous social media accounts being shadow banned, deleted or restricted within India. 

For Sikhs, their struggle is one of self-determination. Khalistan is the name given to an independent Sikh state, a democratic sovereign country – not only a homeland for Sikhs but a sheltering place for the oppressed. The Indian state media has demonised Khalistan, labelling anyone that speaks against human rights atrocities within India as terrorists. It’s important that minorities don’t play into the fear mongering of Indian state media and push back against the demonisation of Khalistan by challenging the Indian narrative.

A campaign launched by Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), an international advocacy group, aims to liberate Indian occupied Punjab through a non-binding Punjab referendum by gaging the will of the Punjabi people with regards to re-establishing Punjab as a nation state. The voting for the referendum began from London, in October 2021, at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, and moved to Italy in May 2022, with various other locations to be covered in the coming months. It was recorded that over 30,000 people came to vote in London.

Voting at Queen Elizabeth Centre II, London, United Kingdom

Until independence is obtained, Sikhs including other minorities will be subjected to genocidal violence under Indian occupation.

Self-determination is a right.

Occupation is a crime.

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