ASC Reps participate in the Interfaith Network on Drone Warfare (INDW) Training Conference held in Princeton, NJ

Karanveer Singh at the Drone Warfare Conference, Princeton, NJ

American Sikh Council (ASC) representatives Karanveer Singh, Satnam Singh, and Kavneet Singh attended a major conference held on the moral dilemma of Drone warfare. This particular conference was a national training conference to equip people of faith interested in organizing on this issue within the faith community on ways to advocate and educate faith communities and the public against drone warfare. This important event was held at Princeton Theological Seminary – Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey from September 27 -29, 2019 and cosponsored by the Coalition for Peace Action (Princeton).

This occasion was attended by 80 faith leaders, community activists, academics and others from 24 states, interested in working towards limiting and stopping the usage of drones by our nation. The conference included representatives from the Sikh, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and several denominations of Christianity.

The focus of the discussion and training entailed how to engage with legislators and fine tuning the skills of communication by activists, such as writing Op-Ed pieces, etc.

Some of the presenters included:

  • Sarah Holewinski – Security Fellow at the Open Society Foundations
  • Maryann Cusimano Love – Professor the American Catholic University, Washington, DC
  • Virginia Farris – Foreign Policy Advisor for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
  • Nathan Hosler – Director, Office of Peacebuilding and Policy at Church of the Brethren
  • Heather Brandon-Smith – Legislative Director for Militarism and Human Rights for FCNL
  • Allegra Harpootlian – Senior Media Associate in the Peace and Security Collaborative

Karanveer Singh and Satnam Singh at the Drone Warfare Conference

Two films were shown; first a 30 min documentary, ‘Moral and Safe? War, Peace, Drone Warfare and the Religious Community’ in which S. Kavneet Singh of the American Sikh Council was featured expressing the Sikh perspective on the topic. The second movie was another 30 min documentary ‘National Bird’ about the effect of war on the Drone Operators and the serious fallout of PTSD.

More than 80 countries have lethal drone capabilities. Use of drones directly harms attempts to promote human rights and the rule of law by violating international human rights law. Terrorist groups, like ISIS, now use lethal drones regularly. Drones dehumanizes all those who are being targeted in any kind of conflict but also does not distinguish between the innocent civilians and those being targeted.

According to Department of Defense in 2017-2018 (2-year period) 121,000 people have been killed by US Drone strikes. It is impossible that all of them were terrorists and all happened to be Muslims!

These killer robots(drones) have removed the decision making and minimized the onus of responsibility thereby making it difficult to blame an authority precisely for the killings.

Susan Smith, Dr.Farrukh Hakeem, Sahar Alsahlani and Kavneet Singh

The Sikh perspective on war as a last resort when all else fails, was discussed and presented.

The Drone Warfare meetings are ongoing in an attempt to resolve the ethical dilemmas all Americans are faced with and especially people of faith(s).

Kavneet Singh moderated a panel discussion on Saturday September 28, 2019 and also led the prayer service at the closing of the conference on Sunday September 29, 2019.

This extremely productive conference not only energized the attendees but the networking helped activists from across the country to connect and hopefully collaborate in the near future to eventually ban drones.

Kavneet Singh speaking at the Drone Warfare Training Conference

This extremely productive conference not only energized the attendees but the networking helped activists from across the country to connect and hopefully collaborate in the near future to eventually ban drones.

https://www.interfaithdronenetwork.org/events/report-on-2019-national-training-conference.html?emci=70c05bda-05e6-e911-b5e9-2818784d6d68&emdi=5138f825-0ce6-e911-b5e9-2818784d6d68&ceid=54882

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