IUSY World Festival condemn heavy verdict against 24 Western Sahara’s activists

In the early hours on June 19, the Moroccan court in Sale pronounced heavy sentences against 24 Saharawi political prisoners, ranging from 4 years to life in prison.

The group was arrested in November 2010, after clashes erupted in the Western Sahara when Moroccan security forces dismantled Saharawi camp of Gdeim Izik, where thousands of Sahrawis were protesting for political, social and economic demands.

The entire group had been originally condemned in February 2013 by a military tribunal, based on testimonies obtained under torture, as documented by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

Most were given harsh sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment.

On 27 July 2016, Morocco’s court of cassation ruled that the Gdeim Izik prisoners would be granted a civilian retrial before the Rabat court of appeals. Most of the group have already served more than six years in prison.

Saharawi political prisoners had conducted several times hunger strikes to protest against their arbitrary detention and unfair trial.

International organisations, as well as the families of the prisoners, had on several occasions requested a fair trial in accordance with the international law on this issue.

Earlier on the last 17th of July, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch called in a joint statement “Morocco’s judicial authorities should ensure that upcoming verdicts in a mass trial are not based on confessions or statements implicating other defendants obtained under torture or other ill-treatment during police interrogations”.

The civilian court of Rabat has issued the following verdict:

– Sentenced to life in prison:
Ahmed Sbai
Brahim Ismaïli
Abdalahi Lakfawni
Laaroussi Abdeljalil
Mohamed El Bachir Boutinguiza
Mohamed Bani
Sidi Abdallah B’hah

– Sentenced to 30 years in prison:
Enaama Asfari
Mohamed Bourial
Hassan Dah
Cheikh Banga

– Sentenced to 25 years in prison:
Abdallahi Toubali
El Houssin Ezzaoui
Mohamed Lamin Haddi
Mohamed Embarek Lefkir
Babait Mohamed Khuna
Sidahmed Lemjeyid (down from life in prison as ordered by the military court)

– Sentenced to 20 years in prison:
Mohamed Tahlil
El Bachir Khadda
Mohamed El Ayoubi

– Granted liberty
Deich Daf has been condemned to six and a half years, which is less than the time he has so far spent in prison. Daf had been sentenced to 25 years by the military court.
Larabi El Bakay has been condemned to four and a half years, which is less than the time he has so far spent in prison. The military court had sentenced El Bakay to 25 years.

The IUSY World Festival 2017, which has taken place in Jale, Albania:

  • Condemn the verdicts issued by the Moroccan court of Sale against the group of Saharawi political prisoners of Gdeim Izik.
  • Demand the Moroccan authorities to provide a fair trial for all Saharawi political prisoners and human rights defenders in accordance with international law requirements.
  • Demand the immediate release of all Saharawi political prisoners in Moroccan jails.
  • Urge the UN to accelerate the peace process in Western Sahara by organizing the referendum to bring this long standing conflict to an end.

Out of the cage

Bheki Dlamini

Bheki Dlamini is IUSY Vice President and President of the Swaziland Youth Congress,
the youth wing of the banned People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO).

Three years ago, on the 25th of February 2014, I was standing on the accused dock and the judge said I was acquitted of Terrorism charges. I was subsequently released from prison since my incarceration in 2010.

Most people celebrate birthdays, but for those of us who have been incarcerated always remember the day of their release from prison. Many good people are sitting in prison today not only in Swaziland but across the globe for demanding justice, freedom and equality.

I was arrested when I was 27 years old. Born in a rural part of a country where over 60% of the population lives in abject poverty in the face of a lavish lifestyle exhibited by the monarchy led by King Mswati. I had no other option but to stand up and condemn his rule. Swaziland has been an absolute monarchy since 1973 when the then King Sobhuza decided to ban all political parties and activities in the country. He centralised all powers into the hands of the monarchy. Political parties remain banned even on this day as we have no say in the governance of the country.

Today I still vividly remember the concrete walls of the prison, my sleeping mat that I had used for years, I remember the excruciating pain in my heart, I remember the tears, and I remember the cold leg chains and handcuffs.

I shall never forget the pain I have been through; from the torture chamber to prison, and now in exile. Surely pain cannot kill mankind. Ever since I was released from prison I have never really been happy. What would make me happy when my co-accused comrade, Zonke Dlamini, was convicted and three days later sentenced to 15 years. My release did not mean an end to the regime that has incarcerated me and my fellow comrades. My first speech to the Swazi people was that I was not happy about my release because I’m moving out of the small prison to the bigger prison”: this open prison is called Swaziland. From the day I was released I was under constant surveillance from the security forces. I remember well, my family wanted to celebrate my release by hosting a traditional thanksgiving ceremony. Once again the police were adamant that my family could not celebrate my release. They forcefully set up a camp at home on the eve of the proposed ceremony to make sure we do not celebrate my release. I had never felt so weak and powerless in the face of state power.

Once again the police were adamant that my family could not celebrate my release. They forcefully set up a camp at home on the eve of the proposed ceremony to make sure we do not celebrate my release. I had never felt so weak and powerless in the face of state power.

Two months after my release I had to flee the country in fear of yet another arrest. The pain of living exiled cannot be explained by words. In my life in prison I have lost some of my lovely family members. Again here away from home I have lost some close family members. Will I ever see their graves? Will I ever have the chance to see my parents? Will I ever see my siblings? Will I ever be in Swaziland again? I do not know the answer to these questions.But what keeps me going? I have been asked this question a million times. The motivating factor is that the course of fighting for freedom is a noble cause.

But what keeps me going?

I have been asked this question a million times. The motivating factor is that the course of fighting for freedom is a noble cause. The royal dictatorship in Swaziland must come to an end. I am one of those who are committed in bringing the regime down. The pain I have experienced and continue to experience propels me to go on. As I commemorate the day I was released from prison, I re-commit myself into the people’s struggle. I do this in honour of the comrades who have died in the hands of the police. I honour my comrades who are serving inside the dungeons of the enemy. I re-commit myself to pursue our struggle for land; I re-commit myself to fight side by side with the poor majority who do not know where their next meal would come from; to those who cannot afford decent health care; to the youth that is unemployed and cannot further have an education due to lack of means.

Three years is a short time but a lot of things have happened since my release. I escaped from another imminent arrest two months after my release into exile. I have been able to secure a scholarship under the Students at Risk programme to pursue my studies. My release from prison has granted me and my organisation – the Swaziland Youth congress – the opportunity to actively participate in the International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY), of which I was elected Vice President in 2016. Our struggle for democracy in Swaziland can never be isolated from the struggles waged by the oppressed people in the world fighting against dictatorships, conservative dogma and an international economic order that has chains magnitudes into perpetual poverty.

Despite all the tribulations I have no time for wailing and lamenting. The struggle for freedom and democracy is real. It calls for more sacrifice from myself until the end. The regime must remember that no force can suppress human determination forever. Our victory is in our hands. Soon we shall be singing the song of victory. Yes we shall overcome. The people shall govern.

Urgent call to action against looming famine in parts of Africa and Yemen

According to its report on 21 February 2017, UNICEF confirmed that almost 1.4 million children are at imminent risk of death from severe acute malnutrition this year, as famine looms in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.

Why are there still famines in parts of the world in the 21st century?  What can be done about it?

The pronouncement of famine in these countries must serve as a wake-up call to all leaders of the developing world, particularly African leaders, to improve on their agricultural sectors to ensure food security for citizens.

The sheer scale and severity of the food insecurity on the African continent and in other parts of the world such as Yemen requires a much stronger response than has been the norm, and the political commitment of world leaders in halting its spread.

In Africa, poverty is undoubtedly the most fundamental cause of famine.

The failure of governments to address issues of chronic poverty has become the perpetual bane of development on the African continent and other parts of the world.

The effects of climate change further pose severe risks to the economies of developing countries, particularly those in Africa.

It is therefore imperative that there is a swift and continuous response on the part of the international community of nations to address issues of carbon emissions and improving environmental protection laws.

African governments cannot fail to notice the need for long-term planning that guarantees a high level of food security in their respective countries.

Prioritization of food security through improved agricultural production and access to food products must not be compromised.

It must be high on the agenda of the African Union and its member countries.

It is equally important to point out the fact that protracted conflicts within States have largely contributed to the ailing economic crisis leading to these famines, such is the case in Yemen and the conflict-prone nations in Africa.

Although there has been much rhetoric on the need to end conflicts in States like South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen and Syria, substantial progress has not been made in terms of peace building and humanitarian assistance within these states.

These conditions leave much to be desired of the efforts of international organizations such as the United Nations Security Council and other international agencies and governments whose actions and inactions contributed to the current conflict situations.

As IUSY calls for a cure to the root causes of famine on the African continent and the Arab League, the world must not be too slow to act to mitigate the effects of prevailing circumstances.

We therefore call on the international community for emergency aid to the affected countries for the protection of human lives.

We further call on the African Union and all other sub regional organizations to strengthen cooperation and support to neighboring countries on the brink of famine to ensure that this imminent crisis is averted.

As a people of common purpose, we have a looming crisis on our hands and IUSY calls for urgent international support of aid agencies and governments to save the lives of persons at risk of death as a result of this predicament.

Food security must be considered a key to ensuring the fundamental right to life of all humans and this underlines our values of solidarity and equality for all.

African Committee ’16 Statement on the Region

15675821_1179939172054729_534786447302245504_o

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.

AFC-resolution 2016 [en]

IUSY condemns the escalating repression in Ethiopia

oromo-protests-e1470663325368-1

 

Following the downfall of the previous Ethiopian government in 1991, Ethiopians were eager to have their freedoms back. Beside many failures of good governance, the abolishment of the former regime was rooted by its execution and imprisonment of innocents. However, though Ethiopians have sacrificed their valuable lives expecting justice and freedom, they are not yet able to get what they have been waiting.

The Ethiopians situation is a clear evidence for the notion that the death of the previous dictatorship did not ensure the birth of a democracy that guarantees human rights. Until today Ethiopians are being incarcerated, tortured and killed for crimes they did not commit. Both their human and democratic rights are being violated by government forces for only asking legitimate questions. They are being dismantled from their lands without enough compensation and forced to live under poverty lines.

The systematic marginalization of the largest ethnic groups by the government which is highly dominated by a minority ethnic group is also significantly affecting the lives of millions. The government of Ethiopia is highly characterized by its unfair distribution of wealth, which placed the majority in extreme poverty. It is evidenced by the recent reports of the Ethiopian government itself that since 2016 more than 10 million people are suffering from drought while few segments of the population are taking unfair advantage of the nation’s resources.

Despite all the challenges, Ethiopians did not keep quiet. Since 1991 until today they are firmly standing against the dictatorship that oppressed their rights and killed many. The legitimate demands of the people intensified since November 2015 when the government officially declared to expand the boundaries of the capital city, Addis Ababa into the Oromia region. The reaction of the government towards all the peaceful protestors, however, was highly unprofessional, if not inhuman. Since then people are being killed, detained, and brutally tortured for only standing against a system which excludes them from political and economic development and led the protest to its highest level.

The brutality of the Ethiopian government against its own citizens revealed itself many times. One of the evidence can be the killings of hundreds in October 2016 where more than two million people gathered for the religious festival and government forces opened fire on people who were expressing their grievances by crossing their hands above their head.

The Ethiopian government is not only killing peaceful protestors but also suppressing their voices through blocking the internet in the name of‘‘State of emergency’’ while many activists and journalists are being tortured and jailed for crimes they did not commit. Therefore, Ethiopians these days are not only demanding for political and economic inclusions but also basic human rights. As IUSY we call for respect of human rights and the government must call an all inclusive political dialogues to solve the impasse. History has taught us that violence is not the solution to solving problems.

Statement brought forward by Vice President Bheki Dlamini and supported by the IUSY Presidium.

Statement condemning King Mswati’s proposed Chairpersonship of Southern African Development Community (SADC)

IUSY condemns the proposed ascendency of Swaziland’s King Mswati who is set to Chair Southern African Development Community (SADC) in August 2016 when the SADC heads of state Summit is held in Swaziland. King Mswati’s dictatorship in Swaziland is against the very same principles and values such as democratic governance that SADC espouses to. Mswati’s rule continues to suppress political parties, as political parties remain banned in Swaziland since 1973. Imprisonment of activists who are against the regime is the order of the day under his rule.

 

The taking over of SADC by a despot in Mswati does not augur well for the region’s endeavour in promoting democracy, respect for human rights and good governance. The region is currently facing political problems that need a decisive leadership that believes in democracy, tolerance and the value of transparency in settling internal disputes facing regional member states. The dictatorship in Zimbabwe cannot be solved under the leadership of Mswati as SADC chair. The people of Zimbabwe shall continue to plunge into economic abyss and repression when another dictator is at the helm of SADC.  The ‘armed’ insurgency impasse in Mozambique is does not inspire a brighter future for the region. Mswati’s leadership is not capable of tackling the challenges confronting the region. The political crisis in Lesotho also needs a credible leader who can ensure that the work done under the outgoing SADC Chairperson President Khama is not reversed.

 

IUSY calls upon all the democratic states in the region not to endorse Swaziland’s ascendency to the Chairpersonship of SADC. We further call for action to be taken by all progressive forces in the region and the world to pressure Mswati’s regime to allow political freedoms and stop human rights abuses.

Invitation to Training of Trainers: Structural Empowering

Dear Comrades,

We are glad to invite you to the

IUSY Capacity Building:

STRUCTURAL EMPOWERING – TRAINING FOR TRAINERS

19th – 25th September 2016, Mollina, Malaga (Spain)

In IUSY we organise many international events, whether they are regional committees, seminars or political schools. We regularly meet to debate and discuss, and more often than not we’re the ones facilitating such exchanges and dialogues. Therefore we believe we must have an active role in the preparation, delivery and evaluation of the methodology we use for these events.

We see non-formal alternatives to formal education being increasingly used in our society, in all sorts of different environments. Non-formal education methodology offers us the chance to develop opinions and skills through experiential learning, is inclusive to different learning styles and provides variety in programme. This is why we believe we should mainstream diverse methodologies into the activities of IUSY. Through this training we aim to position ourselves in the challenge zone in order to offer greater diversity on our events and obtain richer outcomes from our meetings and discussions.
In this Training for Trainers we aim to provide active members of IUSY the chance to acquire and develop training and facilitating skills. We’ll think about how non-formal methods can improve our activities, explore the different ways non-formal education can be utilised as a tool in our programmes, and, in addition, we will also create a network of trainers to help us deliver future IUSY activities.

We encourage you to disseminate this call for participants among the members of your organisations. Please be aware it is unlikely that more than one member per organisation will be selected to participate in this event, therefore we would encourage you to discuss internally who to put forward from your organisation before applying. Please keep in mind that the application deadline is Monday 1st of August 2016.

Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact the IUSY Secretariat at: iusy@iusy.org.

– – – – –

OBJECTIVES  

  • To promote the concept of non-formal education as a working tool among the participants and, as an extension, their member organisations
  • To provide participants with knowledge, tools and confidence to pursue training in their local organisations
  • To bring the global perspective to the local level by providing training and facilitation skills to the participants
  • To train members on the concepts that are relevant for youth political activism/campaigning training in order to be multipliers in their organisations (such as advocacy, speech drafting, communication skills, etc.)
  • To develop the IUSY Pool of Trainers by improving the training capacities of young activists and youth organisations

The workshops will be facilitated based on the core values of participatory non-formal education/learning and on the basis of global education. The programme will promote critical analysis and be tool-oriented to improve the capacities of young activists and youth organisations at the national and local levels.

– – – – –

WHO CAN APPLY? PROFILE OF PARTICIPANTS

This activity is not aimed towards the leadership of IUSY member organisations, it is addressed to youth activists. Please note that this is an educational activity therefore it is required that the participants stay for the whole activity duration and also to contribute to IUSY activities after the training.

Participants should:

  • Belong to IUSY member organisation.
  • Be aged 18-35
  • Have a proficient level of English (the only working language during the activity)
  • Availability to contribute to IUSY activities

Since we expect to provide all regions with trainers for their events, we’re aiming for participants from all regions and from a variety of member organisations.

According to the IUSY statutes, we’re also looking to achieve a gender-balanced training so we reserve the right to select participants based on gender criteria if needed.

– – – – –

HOW TO APPLY

Due to limited space of 12 people, there will be an application process. To apply you must complete the following by Monday 1st of August:

  1. Ensure you fulfil the above criteria
  2. Write a motivation letter, including why you are applying and your vision for the work
  3. (Optional) Obtain a recommendation letter, which outlines your interest in attending the training and/or previous experience
  4. Complete the digital application form by following the registration link.

Follow this link to complete the application form.
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScMiCieFysWiZ7mUvArE30GTdPKBoBVlaBFcHmy_UwcXp1Gbw/viewform

Please note you should not buy any flight tickets before your application is approved.

– – – – –

TRAVEL REIMBURSEMENT

IUSY will cover your flight ticket up to a fixed reference price. The maximum amount for travel reimbursement will be sent to you together with a confirmation letter.

– – – – –

PARTICIPATION FEE

The participation fee is set for 50 euro and should be transferred to IUSY bank account before the event starts. Bank details will be sent along with a confirmation letter.

– – – – –

CANCELLATION FEE

There will be a 50€ cancellation fee charged to each organisation whose participant withdraws after 7 August and without a valid reason.

 – – – – –

CONTACT INFORMATION

Should you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact the coordinator of the project at the IUSY office:

Eugeni Brigneti
IUSY Project Manager
Tel: 0043 699 1353 2970
Mail: eugeni.brigneti@iusy.org

11717556_943359802372966_2698645331513406370_o(Picture of a previous edition of the UYD)

                       

 

 

CALL FOR COORDINATORS FOR IUSY WORKING GROUPS – FEMINISM & POOL OF TRAINERS

CALL FOR COORDINATORS FOR IUSY WORKING GROUPS

We would want to inform you about the availability to apply for becoming coordinator for the following working groups:

– Feminist Working Group

– Pool of Trainers Working Group

 

The coordinators main role is to plan (together with the IUSY presidium) and conduct the work of the working group. The Coordinators will have a close contact with appointed Vice Presidents who will be responsibility for the groups and the coordinators will also be invited to the IUSY Presidium meetings. However, IUSY will not be able to provide any travel reimbursement for the coordinators for the presidium meetings.

To apply for becoming coordinator you should send us:

1. Letter of motivation where you describe why you are interested and your ambitions for the working group you want to coordinate. Furthermore, we would also like you to provide us with your previous engagement in the area of interest, since we would very much be interested in previous experience on the fields.

2. Nomination letter from your national organization.

Deadline for application is set for 1st July. Send your application to iusy@iusy.org. **Please share widely**