‘Decades of institutional discrimination by public bodies against Sikhs: Organ donation is just one example,’ says Sikh Federation (UK)
Image by The Tribune File Photo
The Sikh Federation (UK) has written to NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) following their recent release of ethnicity information on donors.
Whilst the NHSBT has leaflets and promotional materials that are for the Sikh community, it is unable to confirm the number of Sikhs requiring donors or the number of Sikh donors available.
Without this basic organ donor information, the organisation says that NHSBT is making life and death decisions about Sikhs.
Sikhs have been legally recognised in case law as an ethnic group for 40 years. 2023 marks the 40th anniversary of the historic 1983 Mandla vs. Lee unanimous judgement by the House of Lords that established that the Sikh community constituted an ethnic group in case law.
The Cabinet Office and Office for National Statistics (ONS) have refused in each of the last four censuses that have taken place every 10 years (1991, 2001, 2011 and 2021) to provide Sikhs an option of a separate ethnic tick box, Sikh Federation (UK) has mentioned.
Despite many public bodies using the ethnic group categories specified in the census to collect information, the Cabinet Office and ONS have repeatedly argued that it was for public bodies themselves to defend why they do not collect information about Sikhs to demonstrate compliance with equalities legislation, it added.
In a massive protest, over 100,000 Sikhs in England and Wales rejected the 19 ethnic tick boxes provided and writing in Sikh when completing the Census 2021.
Sikhs continue to campaign to get public bodies in the UK to ensure that the community is properly recognised and information is collected by them so they have better information to make decisions.
Dabinderjit Singh, the principal adviser of the Sikh Federation (UK) said, “This amounts to nothing short of decades of institutional discrimination against Sikhs by public bodies who blame ONS and hide behind the ethnic groups specified in the census. Public bodies are ignoring the law that recognise Sikhs have rights and constitute an ethnic group.”