IUSY MC Statement on: Palestine Prisoners in Hunger Strike

Palestinian Hunger-Striker and Political Prisoner Mahmoud Al-Balboul Rushed to ICU

Mahmoud Al-Balboul, 21 years old Palestinian political prisoner and member of Fateh Youth Movement from Bethlehem, was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit of Wolfson Medical Center in Tel Aviv the past Sunday 4th September.

This came against the severe deterioration in his health and accompanying serious complications after 67 days on hunger strike, starting 1 July 2016. Mahmoud’s brother, Mohammad Al-Balboul, 26, and Malik Kadi joined Mahmoud in the hunger strike on 4 July 2016.

Mahmoud’s health sharply deteriorated as he began suffering from severe fatigue, lost 30 kilograms (66 pounds) and had difficulty speaking. Despite warnings by Israeli doctors of an imminent risk of paralysis in case of continued refusal to take vitamin supplements, reports indicate that Mahmoud refused all but water.

The Balboul brothers, detained on 9 June and sentenced to six months of illegal administrative detention, declared an open hunger strike in July to protest Israel’s widely condemned policy. Administrative detention allows Israeli authorities to hold political activists indefinitely without trial or charges, based on undisclosed evidence; it also allows for the prevention of meeting between the detainee and lawyer. This is illegal under international law and infringes on basic internationally recognized rights, including right to due process and freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention, as well as numerous international humanitarian law provisions.

IUSY MC holds Israeli authorities fully responsible for the lives of Al-Balboul brothers, and Malik Kadi as well as all Palestinian political prisoners. In conformity with values of solidarity and fraternity, we extend a request for support to place sufficient pressure on the Israeli Prison Service and government to comply with the demands of the striking political prisoners to cancel the policy of administrative detentions. We demand the immediate release of all Palestinian political prisoners, support for their ongoing struggle in attainment of freedom.

These perpetual acts of illegal aggression are widely reflected in the increasing levels of violence and instability not just in Palestine and the Arab region, but also across the world. It is high time that we raise our voices against occupation, discrimination, violence, extremism and apartheid and take concrete, tangible steps that bring us closer to the day where we see a freedom and justice in Palestine.

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Mediterranean Committee ’16 Statement on the Region

The Mediterranean Committee Leadership Conference ’16 took place last week in Athens, Greece. In the programme we had the opportunity to discuss important issues such as the difference conflicts active in the region, the refugee crisis and its consequences not only in the region but  also in Europe.

We also had the chance to discuss on the relation between Feminism and Socialism followed by the Women’s Role in the Middle East. There was also time for debating on the current economic crisis that so many countries are going through.

All this issues and more are reflected in the statement released by the committee, check it out!

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MC’16 – The current situation in the region

IUSY is concerned about the escalation of human rights violations in Turkey after the coup attempt in July. We strongly believe that there are fundamental rights that should never be infringed upon. Accordingly IUSY condemns the absence of due process (legal procedure of arresting a person), arbitrary arrests and collective punishments. IUSY expresses its proximity to its two Member Organizations present in the area, CHP youth and HDP youth, whose members have been subject to arbitrary violence and persecution. We stand in solidarity by our friends and comrades of CHP Youth and HDP Youth in their battle for social justice and democracy, and we will use all peaceful measures in our hands to protect their basic democratic rights in compliance with fundamental principles of international law.

IUSY stresses its ongoing support for the Kurdish cause and the right of the Kurdish people for self-determination. We view some rights as fundamental and indispensable, primarily freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of movement or even expressing their collective rights that are given to minorities. We commend the struggle of the Kurdish people against extremists and call the international community to take serious measures in order to assist them. We especially condemn the treatment of Kurdish political prisoners, which has amounted on several occasions to enforced disappearance.

IUSY continues to strongly support the right of Western Sahara people to freedom and self-determination. IUSY strongly condemns the Moroccan violation of the seize-fire at Gargarat area and we urge the UN to decide on a date for a referendum, which would determine the fate of the Sahrawian people. We are calling the international community and the UN Security Council to take concrete measures to prevent any escalation of violence. We call both sides to refrain of the use of force and utilize diplomatic and peaceful methods to prevent any additional crisis.

 

IUSY affirm it’s fully support for the Palestinian peaceful struggle towards freedom and the right of the Palestinian people for self-determination and their struggle for independence. We support the peace camp in both sides and their efforts to contribute to the realization of the two states solution based on the 1967 borders. IUSY believes that the only way to achieve a long lasting peace is through non-violent ways. We also call for immediate release of Fatah youth movement members who are currently on an ongoing hunger strike and are in severe health condition and all the Palestinian political prisoners. We call the international community to support the Palestinian international diplomatic steps.

As Under the current situation in the MENA region thousands of children women youths and elderly people crossing the Mediterranean Sea escaping from violence, wars economic crisis and extremism grows, and the way they need to pass on the way to a safe life becomes even more dangerous, we demand the international community to support those people in their struggle against the extreme violence and the dictators in their countries. IUSY calls the EU to take direct measures and to adopt policies and regulations, which guarantee stable life for all the people who are fleeing to Europe, seeking for security peace and dignity. We believe that the policy of the close borders will never achieve security or stability, cooperation and just policies are the only way to solve this humanitarian crisis.

It’s our responsibility all as social democrat youth in the middle east to struggle for building societies based on our principles and values in the different fields. Therefore, struggling for more environmental policies, strengthening of the social democratic economies, equality, solidarity and freedom should be always in the top of our priorities all of us to work hand in hand for better region and better world.

IUSY looks with concern at the increased militarization in the Middle East and North Africa and its detrimental repercussions on the stability of the region. We should always remember the price that was paid in order to effectuate the UN charter. Accordingly, we stress the need to refrain from the use or the threat of the use of force, in compliance with the Charter. We progressively observe how the abuse of the ultimate power at the disposal of certain nations in the Security Council has contributed to the aforementioned end. We view a need for reform in compliance with standards of social democracy and the principle of equality of nations.

 

Prevalent gender stereotypes increase the vulnerability of women worldwide; accordingly, women are disproportionately affected in times of war and conflicts. We commend ongoing efforts to protect women from violence and sexual abuse within the umbrella of the “women, peace and security” agenda, starting with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. We also believe that in order to effectuate it, the big bulk of effort should be concentrated on regional implementation mechanisms in view of the sensitivity of perceptions of infringement of State sovereignty and in light of the different dynamics that inform the process. Nonetheless, the IUSY stresses that this does not by any means suggest that we view that equality of women has been achieved, and encourage individual countries and regional mechanisms to advance this end. It is worth to mention that the feminist struggle is one of many other struggles and accordingly, the IUSY reiterates its support to other struggles including but not limited to LGBTQ struggle and the struggle against racial discrimination.

 

BRT 2016 Statement

The Balkan Round Table (BRT) Leadership Conference 2016 brought together ten  IUSY member organisations from the region at the end of July, hosted by DPSMYC Montenegro in Podgorica. During this conference we had the chance to update each other on the different issues that each country/organisation is facing and also strengthen our cooperation in the Balkans.

Find below the statement, outcome of the BRT Leadership Conference 2016.

 

BRT 2016 Statement on the strengthening of the region

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In 2016, the Balkan Region is undergoing major and critical changes that are reshaping our region and our countries future.

We as International Union of Socialist Youth, strongly support and encourage the inclusion of the young politicians and the youngsters of each country, in this important phase of decision making the Balkan countries are taking towards European standards and integration.

The youth of the Balkans, deserve a brighter future, prosperous economy, with no political or ethnic conflict, where the rule of law is strong and where governments are responsive and responsible for their citizens problems.

Right wing extremism in Europe is creating new ways of infiltrating our life and politics by disguising it as center directed right wing party or sometimes even left. But once the curtains wear off, we then see the background and true interests of people behind them.

The increase of terrorism in the world and consequently the endorsing fear in the population is one of the main points on the agenda for the terrorists themselves and also of course for the right wing parties that are abusing the current situations in Europe to increase their power. “Power to the people” is the main foundation of Social Democracy, that’s why we need to find new efficient ways of battling the increase of right wing movements.

Firstly, we as social democrats should return to our roots. That is communicating with people, publicly fighting for their rights and heading towards public good. We must redirect our speech and actions towards the poorest people living without social and health care, living in most distant areas without infrastructure (no internet) and with harmed education systems. They are the ones that need the most help, and also the ones that will value our fight the most. We must not sympathize with any exclusion, racist or/and xenophobic speech. Not from right-wingers and especially not from left-wingers. We are a mirror of ourselves, and we are the ones that promote the acceptance of differences, diverse communities and inclusion. Let’s keep it this way. as we all know, the best way to get to people is by actually doing so. Meaning we should go out to the public with/as activists and talk to people in ghettos, harmed locations, and everywhere else. We need to promote our views to others, and of course best way to do that is by engaging with them. Social Democracy is a word that describes cooperation between people, and we are here to span it’s values.

Education is the most important tool you give young people to be prepared for the challenges of the future. We as IUSY Balkan organizations stand for universal free education for all sectors of the society, since only by allowing everyone equal access to quality education; individuals are able to pursue their respectable careers in an effective manner. We also strongly advocate for paying special attention to the groups that can be easily discriminated in the today’s society and allowing everyone to pursue their dreams freely, regardless of gender, race and religion.

We strongly recommend our governments to reform our educational system in a way that gives young people the possibility to get a job in the future. It is important to strengthen vocational education and to train our citizens throughout their life. We should find new ways of cooperation between us to pressure our governments and universities to benefit more from EU projects such as ERASMUS or HORIZON 2020. Furthermore, one of the biggest concerns for many new students is being able to afford housing while studying and having good infrastructural conditions. By adopting these ideas we believe it would benefit everyone, not only the students or young people, but it would result in a better and more productive society for all

Youth unemployment is one of the most important issues our countries are facing and this is something that not only affects the present but also the future of our economies and lives. All around the Balkan the youth struggles to find a job. The average unemployment rate for young people is higher compared to other ages, in the Balkan Region it varys from 17% to 53%.

To solve the unemployment problem we must start from the roots all the way up to the leaves.

First of all, we as a social-democratic organizations should advocate for a better guidance in youth career. We recommend member organizations to urge their governments for the creation of career-orientation offices for youth who will start their journey into the labor market.

We recommend member organizations to implement policies that encourage youth entrepreneurship. We also suggest a re-distribution of the budget so there can be more opportunities for youth start-ups.

Furthermore, we strongly recommend vocational trainings for all upcoming students. We urge the governments to implement curricula which is more skill-based and provide more experience for the upcoming students in the labor market. We also encourage the creation of national internship programs. We suggest the implementation of youth guarantee beyond borders.

We as IUSY members strongly support integration of the Balkan countries towards the European Union.

That being said, we have to ensure regional stability and improve regional cooperation.

IUSY stands for strong social policy therefore current policies could be improved on a regional level in a cooperative manner.

So far, Regional Youth Cooperation Office was established, but still it is necessary to provide better scope  and by that including Slovenia and Croatia.

We have a say as one that is why we all support the work that each organizations are doing in their own countries.

Bulgaria is one of the countries from the Balkan region with the lowest standards of living, biggest youth migration and big depopulation of many of its cities and villages. Corruption and the presence of organized crime representatives (prime minister of Bulgaria – Boyko Borissov is a well known member of the organized crime structures in the 1990s) in state power is obvious, even the French Ambassador in Bulgaria says this in a TV interview on 30th July 2016.

We, IUSY Balkan members, support our comrades from Bulgaria in their fight for freeing the country from criminals in state structure and taking decisive steps to reform the judicial system and prosecutor’s office according to EU recommendations and following the good example of Romania’s National Anti Corruption Agency.

IUSY supports the struggle of Social Democratic Union, Social Democratic Youth and the Civil Society in Macedonia on their fight for democracy and against the totalitarian regime of Nikola Gruevski and VMRO-DPMNE. We encourage all the political actors in Macedonia to fully implement the upgrade of Przino Agreement to guarantee that the upcoming Macedonian elections on December are free and fair.

On the 21st of July, Albania made history by approving unanimously and with consensus the reform of the justice system. Political leaders have shown responsibility and strong democratic values by voting to create a new independent, fair and free judicial system, a reform in complete coherence with the Venice Commission recommendations.

It is with great optimism for the future of the country and for the Albanian youth, that IUSY and the young politicians of the Balkan region, salute the new judicial reform, and its consensual approval, which will open a new chapter for the European Integration of Albania. We feel that political parties should always come together when they are passing critical and important policies that will affect the lives of their citizens. Political dialog, consensus, constructive cooperation is always better than separation and political war. This spirit of leadership is necessity for our countries in the critical steps needed to be undertaken on their path towards a better life. We, IUSY will always support political actions that respect the principle that people’s interest always comes before party interests.

We, the Balkan youth organizations, feel the necessity to continue on strengthening our cooperation. During the Balkan Round Table 2016 in Podgorica, Montenegro we agreed to organize more joint activities, in promoting regional cooperation, unity, and social democratic values.

Welcome to the Launching of the Young Global Parliamentarian Network

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IUSY will be taking an initiative to start up a Young Global Parliamentarian Network.

Date: 17 October

Time: 09.30-13.30

The aim of the network is to gather local, national and regional parliamentarians to meet and discuss common challenges both policy wise and how to strengthen each other to become more influential as young parliamentarians.

The launching of the Network will take place during the upcoming Progressive Alliance Meeting, which is organised in cooperation with the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament (S&D).

IUSY will be able to cover accommodation (2 people in each room) during the PA event. The other costs will be covered by each person/organization.

We kindly ask you to forward this to all of your young parliamentarians.

For more information on the whole schedule and the registration for the Progressive Alliance Meeting, please check here REGISTRATION, Technical Details and PROGRAM. 

Deadline for registration is set for 20 September. 

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us in case on any inquiries.

IUSY Secretariat

iusy@iusy.org

BSAC 2016 declaration

DSC_0044The Black Sea Area Cooperation (BSAC) meeting 2016 brought together nine organisations from the region at the end of August, hosted by TSD Romania in Bucharest. The participants were given space to discuss a diverse range of topics such as war and peace in the region, corruption and social and economic injustice, and international solidarity and cooperation with trade unions. Participants also had the chance to visit the Romanian Palace of the Parliament, took part in a workshop on how to be more relevant in the region and shared experiences of using social media as an activist tool.

The main outcome from the event was a the production of a declaration that was drafted, debated and approved by members on the event. We would like to share this declaration with other IUSY organisations (follow the link below).

BSAC 2016 declaration

Solidarity with the people of Italy

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Italy was hit by a catastrophic earthquake yesterday. The earthquake has until now deprived almost 250 people their lives and many more are injured. Furthermore, it has destroyed and brought down homes and even entire villages.
Our thoughts and hearts goes out to all the people of Italy during this time of crises.
Due to the difficult situation, our comrades of GD Italy and PD Italy have started a fundraising to help out and provide people in need help.

JOINT INTERNATIONAL YOUTH SEMINAR ON ECONOMICS

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By. SJÖ-IUSY-YES

 

Dear Friends,

 

We cordially invite you to the upcoming “Joint International Seminar on Progressive Economics”. The seminar will be hosted by, IUSY- International Union of Socialist Youth and YES- Young European Socialist Member Organization, SJÖ- Socialist Youth of Austria and the Renner Institut.

 

The focus of the seminar will be Progressive Economics and the topic will be addressed from different perspectives. Furthermore, we will have 3 days of intensive and interesting program containing of seminars, workshops and social & cultural events.

 

The registrations for the European organizations who are members of YES, goes through YES- Young European Socialists and the registration of the non- European Organizations goes through IUSY.

 

In the case of non-Europeans, there are two seats for each region (Asia- Pacific, Africa, Middle East and America). To make sure that everyone has equal chance and the discussions becomes fruitful, we would need to have an application process where you would need to provide us with following:

 

  1. Why you are interested in attending the event?
  2. How you intend to continue working with the topic when returning back to your national/regional organization?

These questions will be possible to answer via the application link.

 

Place: Vienna, Austria

Date: 30 September -2 October

European Organizations (Members of YES): Please contact the YES Secretariat in case of questions of registration etc. office@youngsocialists.eu

Non- European Organizations, please apply through following link: APPLY HERE

Deadline for registration: 3 September

Accommodation: All costs for accommodation and meals will be covered by the hosting organizations. We will send out more details on exact place of venue etc. to those participants who gets their application granted.

Travel reimbursement: The maximum amount of travel reimbursement will be set after the decision on the participants is done, after deadline.

 

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me in case of any questions!

 

Best Regards,

Evin Incir

IUSY Secretary General

iusy@iusy.org

European reality, humanitarian crisis – doctors without borders in the Mediterranean

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On Sunday evening, we are leaving the YES Summer camp: tired, yet packed up with impressions and full of excitement about our upcoming vacation in Sicily. When traveling to our first stop in Trapani, we receive messages of comrades from all over Europe sending in pictures of their symbolic “refugees welcome” paper boats being photographed at the Airport of Palermo. We are happy about having spread our political message in so many countries, but especially in Sicily since it is one of the few places in Europe for which simply relying on the Dublin Agreement has never been an option. As a result, the island has been left alone for years trying to cope with the high numbers of newly arriving refugees.

 

In Trapani we find a Bed and Breakfast located close to the harbor. When passing by, one specific boat immediately captures our attention: The Aquarius. Despite its bright orange color and its former name “Meerkatze” (engl. Sea cat) showing through the fresh coat of paint, it is not its look, but its mission that makes it unique. It is one of three boats the NGO “Médecins sans Frontières” (Doctors without borders) together with SOS Mediterranée is currently operating with in the Mediterranean.

We all sigh. Even though we had spent the last weeks discussing all the theoretical aspects of the challenges refugees face at European borders on a daily basis, seeing the impact of Europe’s policies so closely makes us shiver.

While we stand in front of the boat, two women of the crew approach us. One of them quickly turns out to be the doctor on the boat. Her colleague is working for SOS. As her main tasks she describes interviewing refugees about their journey and their treatment by Libyan and European authorities.

We ask them, how much time they get to spend in Trapani until the boat goes offshore again. They both look at each other and explain that they usually get three days off. This time, however, their stay has been elongated by a day because the crew still needs to recover from their last mission. This time, they have had to salvage 22 bodies, 22 human beings that had not made it through the Mediterranean Sea.

Not knowing what to say, we remain silent. The two women, both acting in a very professional manner, fill our silence by continuing their stories. Usually they spend about three weeks offshore, most of it close to Libyan territorial waters awaiting rescue calls.

They explain Libya to be the preferred leaving country due to its lack of governmental infrastructure. Around 20 boats are leaving from Libya daily, none of them carrying enough fuel to make it to Italy, not to mention their poor conditions and overfilled capacities.

They explain that most refugees do not make it out of Libyan territories on their first attempt, many being captured before and often being made to pay high sums to human traffickers.

SOS explains to be patrolling all areas close to the Libyan coast, including the areas covered by the FRONTEX mission Triton.

As a reason they diplomatically state the different mandates of FRONTEX and doctors without borders. Expecting to know what they are referring to, we ask about their experiences with Push Backs[1].

Their faces darken and they confirm our concerns: even though there are no direct incidents with FRONTEX, they suspect the EU of having made a deal with Libyan authorities. Similar to the case with the Turkish Deal, the European Union has handed over the dirty work to Libyan coast guards.

We do not want to keep them from anything, but they seem to be happy about our curiosity.

They continue by telling us about their last mission from which they had just returned the day before yesterday. They were taking care of more than 200 people on board, a comparably small number as we should find out later.

According to the doctor, one out of 23 refugees dies trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea. “If fleeing was a disease, the world would be shattered by its deadliness”, she explains. Despite all the tragedies they are facing on a daily basis, they still have joyful experiences to talk about. They tell us about a baby being born on the boat just two days ago, an event which she describes as an amazing experience to the crew and all of their guests. The fact that they refer to the refugees as their guests as well as their political awareness leaves us deeply impressed.

After the unexpected conversation with these fascinating women we politely ask for a more detailed interview. They ask us to come back tomorrow – an offer which we happily accept. When returning to the boat the next morning, a security guard is protecting the ship. Luckily, the SOS employee we have been talking to yesterday is standing on deck and recognizes us. She tells the security to invite us on the ship – an invitation we have not been expecting. When entering the boat, we are not sure how to deal with this overwhelming situation. A volunteer approaches us. Judging by his outfit, he is about to go for a run. He seems accustomed to tourists being interested in his work and explains that he drives one of the smaller rescue boats. He offers us a medical tour with the two nurses. Besides the doctor and a midwife, they are the only medical staff working on the boat, taking care of up to 600 guests.

 

They talk about their daily routine on boat and how – in case of emergency – journalists, nautical and medical staff are working together side by side taking care of people.

All members of the current team have already been working for Doctors without borders in the past, they are all highly skilled and familiar with the challenging work. As language of communication they state English, but all of them speak at least French in addition, some even more than three languages.

Several team members including the two nurses belong to the permanent staff of doctors without borders, others just temporarily work for them. A new doctor who usually works in a hospital in London had just arrived the day before.

Technically speaking, the crew consists of two legal entities, MSF and SOS, but in reality, they work as one – especially in situations of emergency. For those cases the crew is regularly provided with trainings; white boards explaining how to react in case of emergency can be found in every single room.

 

If there are no patients in serious conditions they continue looking for other boats, if immediate medical treatment is required, they ask for permission to enter a port on the Italian coast. The guests then get to apply for asylum in Italy and the Aquarius leaves right away to continue its mission offshore.

 

Our tour leads us to the sick room. We cannot keep from wondering how so many people could even fit inside that small room, not to mention being medically treated.

A German couple that has joined the tour asks about security measures such as masks and protective suits being used by governmental authorities. The nurse describes them as unnecessary in their case. The risk is minimal and wearing it would only make their work more difficult and frighten their guests.

 

As most difficult they describe the situation on board, when it is exceptionally crowded. The nurse explains how hard it is to ensure a dignified, yet safe and calm stay for such a large number of people. Something they want to provide to all of their guests.

 

We are impressed, shocked, sad and angry and yet burning to know more. However, we do not want to keep them from spending their well-deserved free time off the boat before going offshore again.

We are leaving the Aquarius behind with mixed feelings, waving the crew goodbye. One sentence of the nurse echoes in our heads.

“Change European politics and our work here would not be needed at all.”

By:

Naomi Dutzi

Ella Hofreiter

Matthias Krainz

Miro Verdel

[1] A push back is the deportation of a refugee before having the possibility to apply for asylum. Push backs violate the principle of non-refoulement as well as the 1951 Refugee Convention.