The Africa committee meeting convened in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso from 15th -18th December 2016. The AFC under the theme “Democracy in Africa: The Importance of Youth Participation in Building Social Democracy”, comes at an opportune time when Africa is facing a backlash on the gains of democracy. The challenges faced by our continent are enormous and we, as young activists within our individual countries, must actively take up the mantle of ensuring that through activism and political campaigns, we call on our leaders to address these challenges. The meeting focused on Students and Youth Activism as a Catalyst for Democracy, the Challenges and Prospects for Women Leadership in Pursuit of Social Democracy, and the Promotion and Protection of Minority Rights in Africa.
IUSY strongly condemns the outright disregard for justice and human rights by the administration of the President of Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte. IUSY also expresses deep concerns that the President has chosen to serve his own whims and the fancies of the few, over the good of his citizens and humanity as a whole. Among his worrying actions are:
Ever since President Duterte came into power in July 2016, unspeakable Humanitarian crimes- under the guise of a“War on Drugs”- have been committed. As of 18 December 2016, a total of 6173 Extrajudicial killings linked to Duterte policy have taken place, with the latest casualty being a 5-year old child of a rehabilitated drug user.
In 14 December 2016, he was quoted as saying “I’d go around in Davao with a motorcycle, with a big bike around, and I would just patrol the streets, looking for trouble also. I was really looking for a confrontation so I could kill.” This admission of murder led to several Philippine Senators’ call for the President’s impeachment. However, Secretary of Justice Vitaliano Aguirre defended the President saying the comments were meant as “hyperbole” and thus dismissed the Criminal admission.
Duterte has also paved the way for the impending reinstatement of the Death Penalty in the Philippines, mooted to including barbaric methods such as public hanging and firing squad. This is coupled with a pronouncement of the age of criminality to be lowered from 15 to 9 years old.
Duterte has also drawn criticism for allowing ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos to be buried in Manila’s Heroes’ Cemetery in 18 November of this 2016. This was explained as a way for the country to finally heal after the horrors of Marcos-declared Martial Law era. The dictator’s remains were flown in from Ilocos Norte using the Armed Forces’ cargo plane, the burial done stealthily, and was given full military honors.
Duterte offered Presidential pardon to the impeached former President Gloria Macapagal – Arroyo, effectively dismissing all pending corruption cases against. He has also refused to investigate police officials who were ruled by National Bureau of Investigation as having caused the murder of incarcerated Mayor Espinosa. Such abuse of power to cover up or absolve serious criminals and fellow abusers of power is despicable.
Duterte has launched a personal vendetta against former Chief Justice, Senator Leila De Lima, stripping her of the role as the Senate Committee Chair on Justice, the very committee holding senate inquiries on Duterte linked extra judicial killings and the Davao Death Squad. The President’s also threatened the Senator with a congressional viewing of a sex tape purportedly featuring her.
Duterte has recently barred the elected Vice President Leni Robredo from attending all Cabinet meetings for being critical of his decisions. This led Robredo to resign from her Cabinet post as Chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.
These and other acts are a far cry from the mandate given to him by the Filipino people as President. We urge President Duterte to listen to the Filipino people, stop the senseless killings, respect the rule of law and democratic institutions.
We also strongly call for The President to refrain from using his power to vilify and silence his critics. IUSY likewise urges President Duterte to heed the advice of the United Nations and cease all acts which undermine justice and human rights of the very people who have elected him.
IUSY calls on the Filipino people to remain united in the face of the current political dark age brought on by Duterte’s presidency.
IUSY urges the Filipinos to choose life over death, justice and due process over instant gratification, The dignity of humanity over one person.
We call on our fellow youth to serve as the beacons of truth in this trying time. We, the presidium of IUSY, are at one with your struggle for peace and security.
IUSY shows its deepest concern about the unfolding political situation the Republic of the Gambia. IUSY condemns the dramatic change of heart by the incumbent President Yayah Jammeh who has announced that he no longer accepts the national election results. He dully conceded defeat on December 2, 2016 to opposition coalition leader Adama Barrow. The people of the Gambia rejected the rule of Jammeh in the election that were held on December 1, 2016. Jammeh is popularly known for his undemocratic conduct as he attacked his political opponents and curtailed fundamental freedoms. The authoritarian rule of Jammeh started when he assumed power 22 years ago, through a military coup.
The sudden turn of events by Jammeh refusing to accept the election results makes democracy a mockery and cannot be tolerated. It is an attack on democracy and the will of the people to elect their own leaders. The people of the Gambia have spoken loud and clear by choosing their preferred candidate. IUSY and all democracy loving people of the world expect a smooth transfer of power to the new President elect Barrow.
IUSY calls for the people of the Gambia to remain united in this turbulent period as they find an amicable solution to the political impasse caused by Jammeh. Young people and democrats must stand in solidarity with the Gambian people at this dark moment.
IUSY calls upon on the international bodies, the ECOWAS, African Union, and the UN security council to stop the action of Jammeh and allow the President elect to assume office as mandated by the people. The UN security Council must respond immediately before there is blood shed in the Gambia. Let democracy and justice prevail in the Gambia.
The elections on December 11th provide the people of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (F.Y.R.O.Macedonia) with the possibility of a new start, and the unification of all democratic forces. And foremost, it offers the people of F.Y.R.O.Macedonia the possibility to choose the direction for the future of their country.
Free and fair elections are the cornerstones of robust democratic states. These principles are not negotiable and must be respected by all political forces. Ensuring clean electoral lists, and preventing manipulation of the electorate must have absolute priority in order to secure not only transparency and accountability, but most of all legitimacy. It is crucial that citizens are presented with a variety of meaningful options from which they can choose what kind of lives and systems they consider to be the most desirable for their very own community. This means, free and open competition between different parties. Considering that the latest European Commission report on the F.Y.R.O. Macedonia mention the increasing risk of “state capture” and expresses serious concerns regarding civil liberties, it is crucial that these elections are conducted in a free and fair way so that the country can get back on democratic track and take action in order to give a more positive outlook for the next report .
Vivid discussions focussing on the political content and ideological differences do not only allow all people to enjoy their fundamental rights, such as the freedom of speech, freedom of association and assembly, and freedom of the press, it is also a tool which fosters deeper political participation and paves the way for the emancipation of both individuals and groups. We call on all the candidates to use their opportunities and participate in public debates, thus providing enough information, so that the public can make an informed choice.
The people of F.Y.R.O.Macedonia have lived in a polarized society for many years and they deserve to once and for all enjoy their fundamental rights and democracy. Everything else is not giving them the adequate respect they deserve.
As young people, who are not only living today, but who will also bear the consequences of today’s decisions in the future, we call upon all parties and all other relevant institutions and organisations to collectively ensure that all citizens can practice the democracy they are entitled to through the constitution.
EFAy- European Free Alliance Youth
FYEG- Federation of Young European Greens
IFLRY- International Federation of Liberal Youth
IUSY- International Union of Socialist Youth
JEF- Young European Federalists
LYMEC- European Liberal Youth
YDE- Young Democrats for Europe
YES- Young European Socialists
The American Committee Leadership Conference ’16 took place in Santiago, Chile from the 17 to the 20 of November. In the programme we had the opportunity to discuss important issues such as the difference conflicts active in the region, meet the President and other important political figures of the country and the region.
We also had the chance to discuss on the current state of the different countries and organisation on the region in a session facilitated by the Pool of Trainers in cooperation with the Vicepresidents of the region. Another of the main sessions was on the socialist vision of socialism in America.
At the end of the meeting a work plan was drafted so you will be hearing more news about the upcoming work in the region.
All this issues and more are reflected in the statement released by the committee, check it out!
American Committee ’16 Statement
The American Committee of the International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY) met from 17 to 20 November 2016 in the city of Santiago de Chile with the aim to reflect on the current situation in our region and the challenges of socialism in complex moments for the progressive proposals in our countries.
On a global stage of deepening of the capitalist economic system we see how in America the wave of conservative governments threatens the political and social transformations conquered. This is accompanied by a general discredit of traditional politics, deepening in individualizing story and an estrangement between parties and their social bases.
Worrying in turn is the growth of right-wing populist speeches that, showing racist positions, macho, xenophobic; they are the ultimate expression of the anti policy. Manifestation of this is the promise of construction of the wall that separates the United States of Mexico.
We oppose the violation of the guarantee of due process in the political judgment made to the Chairperson Dilma Rousseff and the use of the institutional channels by the groups in power for the dismissal of a Government legitimately elected by the people.
We note with concern the increase in the inequality, poverty and unemployment in Argentina that has increased since the last change of national government. It is, to all lights, a indisputable reality that this government of the new right, Argentina has accentuated the policies of exclusion, marked by the benefit to the privileged sectors at the expense of the work and the effort of the medium and low social sectors.
It is alarming the advance of organized crime in the region where the networks of drug trafficking and trafficking demand the coordination of policies, of international cooperation in the defence and guarantee of human rights. Special mention should be made of the situation in Mexico with thousands of women exploited and killed on a daily basis.
IUSY welcomes the announcement of the new agreements between the Government and the FARC, which constitutes a new opportunity for reconciliation between Colombians, configuring a crucial moment not only for Colombia, but also for the region. We hope that progress will be made soon on the ratification and implementation of the agreements, for the consolidation of a stable peace, lasting, to ensure the protection of human rights in order to achieve a more equitable nation.
We also insist that the dialog process in Venezuela needs to be plural and address the underlying problems that are the cause of the political crisis in the country today. The way out to this conflict must be through constitutionally established democratic processes, therefore we see with concern the deliberate lock in the recall process on the part of the government.
We believe it to be more than necessary to forge closer links with the grassroots social organizations, promote new forms of citizen participation that will contribute to the strengthening of institutions and the democratization of our societies. For all this is essential to consolidate the unity of the left movements throughout the continent.
The American Committee extends a greeting to host organizations for the activities organised, as well as many successes to electoral processes that are approaching in Ecuador and Chile. It also supports the candidacy of former President Fernando Lugo in Paraguay, driven by the front Guasú, with a view to the elections of 2018.
YES to peace in Colombia 2
Ni Una Menos!
Vivas nos queremos!
All Over The World to Change It!
IUSY American Committee ‘16, Santiago, Chile 19th November
IUSY and YES condemn the sudden and unfair arrest of IUSY President Howard Lee and other members of the opposition in Malaysia. Howard is a Representative in the Perak State Assembly in Malaysia and he was taken into custody by the police for participating in the Bersih 5 protest, a rally asking for clean elections, clean government, the strengthening of parliamentary democracy, right to dissent, empowering Sabah and Sarawak, denounce the abuse of power by the current Prime Minister, and denounce the gerrymandering of the election commission for the upcoming elections.
Other members of the opposition were also arrested, including MP Anthony Loke, the Chairperson for Bersih, Maria Chin Abdullah, and Bersih Secretary Mandeep Singh.
At the present time, President Lee is being held at the State Police Headquarters in Kuala Lumpur and no lawyers have been let in. Howard Lee is a member of the Democratic Action Party and is the International Secretary for the party’s youth wing, DAPSY.
IUSY and YES demand the immediate release of President Lee and the cease of all politically driven arrests in Malaysia, calling for their human and political rights to be respected.
IUSY shows its deepest concern about the political and democratic situation in Turkey, strongly condemning the discretionary arrests of the HDP leaders, Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yüksekdag and a dozen other opposition MPs in Turkey, asking for their immediate release. We appeal to the elimination of violence in the region and appeal to a non escalation in the conflict. The recent events in the country, with the increasing arrests of journalists, academic people and other individuals related to any kind of opposition to the Turkish Government, are a sign of an ever increasing authoritarian ruling force by the AKP supported Government. We urge Turkey to abide by international law and to respect the rule of Law. The intentions of reinstating the death penalty, the imposed censorship on social media, the repression on free press and the lack of respect for the independence of the judiciary system pose a clear threat to the democratic regime in Turkey and cannot be accepted by the international community. Also, IUSY condemns the terror attack in Diyarbakır, where 9 people were killed in response to these arrests. We remind that violence cannot be an answer and civil war is not an option in Turkey. It is time for the Turkish Government to respect the rules of democracy, which includes respecting the rights of the Kurdish people, the right of political association and opposition and freedom of speech press and association. We demand that the European Union and the international community take a stand on the unlawful arrests of the HDP leaders, to pressure Turkey to comply to the established standards of the rule of law, using all of their normative power through the political, economic, and diplomatic means at their disposal to successfully achieve this important step. The downwards spiral that is leading Turkey from a secular Republic to a religious autocracy must be stopped in the interest of the Turkish people. We call the EU to take notice that as long as Erdogan’s government perpetrates the repression of democracy and human rights targeting its own citizens – Kurds in particular -Turkey is not abiding by the EU accession criteria she was asked to pursue in its long path towards becoming an EU Member State. We call on the European Union to pressure Turkey by temporary freezing the ongoing EU membership negotiations until democracy and the respect of the rights of all Turkish citizens are re-established.
In the past Economic Seminar in partnership with Renner Institute and our member organisation SJÖ besides having very interesting discussions we also witnessed the birth of a working group on Political Economy.
You can see below the summaries of the different workshop they ran in the first meeting right after the event.
If you’re interested on the topic and would like to join and contribute please contact Matthias Krainz IUSY VP at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also join the Facebook group > https://www.facebook.com/groups/851664904970530/