The Gurkha Hat signifies the profession while the crossed khukris symbolises the martial race of the Gurkhas. The overall black is a silent reflection of the unequal treatment while the white pugri denotes the Society's peaceful plea for justice
Since 2003 the British Gurkha Welfare Society has led a determined campaign for those Gurkha veterans who retired before 1997 to receive pensions equal to the British and Commonwealth Soldiers they fought alongside â€“ the campaign for Gurkha pensions dating back more than 30 years.
This campaign marks the latest stage in efforts by the Gurkha community to achieve equality of treatment that received a tremendous boost in 2009 thanks to the incredible contribution of Joanna Lumley that brought about a change to Government policy and, for the first time, allowed Gurkhas who retired before 1997 and who had served for four years in the Armed Forces the right of settlement in the UK.
The BGWS has since continued to carry the torch for Gurkha welfare and by campaigning for equal pensions is seeking to tackle the immense poverty faced by many within our community both in the UK and in Nepal.
Since the decision on settlement, the BGWS has continued to challenge the Gurkha pensions situation in Westminster, also maintaining a legal challenge that has seen a judicial review and subsequent challenge of its verdict in the Court of Appeal. Exhausting all local avenues our case now lies with the European Court of Human Rights.
Underpinning this activity is a simple fact: at present many Gurkha veterans who retired before 1997 are forced to live in poverty in Nepal, and even when they move to the UK out of financial desperation (possible thanks to the resolution of settlement) are left perilously close to the poverty line, often having left their families behind in Nepal.
Their plight is compounded by the fact that many of these veterans are elderly, sometimes infirm and often lacking the English skills and formal qualifications to make employment possible.
Currently, Gurkhas receive a pension of only £2,150 per year with the many that relocate to the UK being reliant on pension tax credits and State benefits to survive. A pension of £5,000 per year would enable these veterans to live out their lives in comfort and without reliance on charity in Nepal with their families, thereby relieving the burden of benefits payments from the UK Government.
For more information on the BGWS's pensions campaign, please click here READ THE HISTORY OF THE GURKHAS