IUSY President statement on Northern Rakhine

NORTHERN RAKHINE : Rohingya people

It is with relief that the IUSY welcomes the ceasefire announced by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).Yet, it is shocking and disturbing to find the Myanmarese government snubbing the possibility of a reciprocation. IUSY sternly calls for an immediate end of any violence, especially on the innocent and young civilians.

This seemingly one sided ceasefire will hopefully bring the month-long insurgency in the Rakhine State of Myanmar to a temporary trough. This is reportedly to allow for aid and humanitarian assistance to be channeled to the thousands in need. IUSY calls for the Myanmar government to reconsider reciprocating the ceasefire for the sake of ordinary Myanmarese of all ethnicities and religions, including the Rohingya people.

The violent slaughter that took place in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, especially of the Rohingya people, is abhorrent and must immediately cease. For years, the Rohingya people have been systematically repressed and abused. Since the attack on 25th August, when the Myanmarese Government activated its military forces to curb the influence of the ARSA, thousands have fled to Bangladesh, while thousands of those stuck in Rakhine have been massacred.

The Rohingya humanitarian crisis is not one isolated within Myanmar, but a regional one with its toxicity over spilling far and wide across South-east Asia. The killings and continued alienation of the Rohingya people has profoundly far-reaching political, social and/or economic implications, felt even in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

Extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary actions; ‘the ASEAN way’ of non-interference has proven futile in ensuring national challenges remain within national borders. ASEAN governments should start bilaterally engaging the Myanmar government in stating a clear demand for the state-sponsored violence to immediately stop. No government should be silent when atrocities are being committed against the innocent and helpless civilians.

Whilst marches and rallies in solidarity of those affected have the utmost support from the IUSY, The respective Foreign Ministries should exercise leadership, and immediately step up several gears in mobilising their leaders and leverages within the UN, especially during the General Assembly on 19 September. These countries should also use its influence within the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (ASEAN ICHR) to urge Myanmar and its government to put an immediate stop to the senseless killings.

IUSY is mindful of Bangladesh’s acceptance of Rohingya refugees.

According to the UNHCR, before the recent refugee influx, there were already up to 500,000 undocumented refugees in Bangladesh. The situation is precarious and has reportedly reached a “breaking point”. Staff capacity and resources are insufficient. With the overflowing camps unable to accommodate the new arrivals, thousands are now cooped up under emergency tents, in makeshift camps or lying out in the open. An adequate supply for all refugees can no longer be ensured. The current floods in the area are complicating the situation even further. To address the urgent needs, the government has planned to set up new camps and if necessary to expand already existing ones.

For the Bangladeshi government, one of the most disconcerting issues is religious extremism and its instrumentalisation and victimization of refugees (i.e. refugees being recruited and trained by local extremists). The Bangladeshi government has called on the international community for immediate support – namely to put pressure on the Myanmar government to recognise Rohingyas as citizens. IUSY urges the international community to also channel aid to the Bangladeshi government to alleviate the pressures of the current crisis.

We commend Indonesia for having taken on an active role in assisting the Rohingya people, it’s time that Malaysia does her share in the name of humanity. As a human race, we must unite in actively condemning those who have and are perpetrating any form of violence towards any group of people, regardless of race or religion. Hatred, oppression, and violence should not have a place in any country, and all self-proclaimed government should ensure that they stands tall and live up to their reputation as champions of human rights.

IUSY does not only condone any act of violence committed by any groups or governments. We also condemn the words and actions of those fanning the flames of hatred and polarisation, by accrediting the violent actions of a few to an entire ethnic group and/or the believers of an entire faith. Our only concern is for the safety and well-being of civilians regardless of race or religion.

IUSY joins the international community’s call to end the senseless killings of the Rohingya people, and other innocent civilians caught up in this bloody conflict in Myanmar and for the latter’s government to stop the state-sanctioned military attack in Rakhine and instead focus its efforts in ensuring the safety of the survivors of the massacre.

In the interest of upholding the truth, with the cooperation of the Progressive Alliance, IUSY have compiled some well-researched key findings and verified facts.

The Rohingya in Myanmar have been for years, and continue to live in dire conditions favourable to extremism. The Rohingya are probably one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. The conflict between the group and the Myanmar government has historic, religious and ethnic roots; though the current conflict is largely a military-led expulsion resulted by a militant group claiming to represent the entire ethnicity. It is exacerbated by systematic discrimination and the portrayal of the group as an economic burden as well as a security risk. As a result, an increasing number of Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh.

Reliable information is scarce. As of now, international journalists have had no access to the area. Therefore, any facts and footage have to be treated with extreme caution. The unprecedented solidarity wave in the Muslim world means that a lot of fake footage is spreading through social media. Other footages and pictures depicting Buddhists being treated violently are used by those countering that narrative. There is a spiral of hatred and violent propaganda that is driving a fabricated Rohingya versus Buddhist narrative that is growing rampantly.

Militant Extremism by a small minority of Rohingya is real. It is unclear to what extent the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) is supported by Rohingya civilians. But they have proven their capability to stage coordinated attacks, spread propaganda and recruit fighters. ARSA’s activities could indicate a renewed Islamic militancy among Rohingyas. However, as ARSA is ill-equipped and primitively armed, the excessive counteractions of the Burmese Army might either eradicate the group or trigger a counter propaganda campaign leading to a surge in recruits.

Militant Nationalism and religious hatred towards Muslims and Rohingya stoked by some small groups of Buddhist monks is equally real. Though not entirely related to this bout of violence, it is sure to capitalise on it to further fan the fires of fear and polarisation. U Wirathu is a firebrand Bhuddist monk, known to some international media as the ‘face of Buddhist terror’ – he is synonymous with the Organization for the Protection of Race and Religion (Ma Ba Tha) which is well known for their provocative anti-Islam pronouncement. U Thuzana is a charismatic monk in the state of Karen linked with armed Democratic Buddhist Karen Army (DKBA). The alignment of U Wirathu and U Thuzana through anti-Muslim Buddhist activism is heightening religious tensions across the country – including with Christians. U Thuzana and his armed men will capitalize on renewed conflict in Rakhine in the service of their own politico-religious projects. The rising confluence of armed groups and nationally prominent Buddhist monk extremists introduces a disturbing new dynamic to Myanmar’s religious-political conflicts that, despite official efforts to curb the Ma Ba Tha and its message of hate, seem likely to get worse before they get better.

An international commission led by Kofi Annan recently published a report on the situation. Their main finding is that without fixing the 1982 citizenship law and even bringing back Rohingyas to Myanmar (as happened after previous clashes with international support) would not prevent but merely delay the next cycle of violence.

Myanmar’s transition from military dictatorship to democracy is far from over. The country is dealing with a transition to civilian rule, a market economy, functioning statehood and bureaucracy, open society, capitalist consumerism and sustainable peace. The military elites are still the strongest political force. Aung San Suu Kyi focuses on consolidating domestic support and evades any conflict with the military establishment.

Some 290.000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh since 25 August, according to a spokesman for the UN refugee agency. Around 27.000 Buddhists and Hindus have also been displaced by ARSA attacks. Fear and violence stalk Rakhine state as communities turn on each other and villages continue to be set alight.

The situation in the Bangladesh Rohingya camps has reached a breaking point. Resources and staff are insufficient. Thousands are living in emergency tents, makeshift camps or in the open. Without international support, a humanitarian catastrophe will ensue.

In view of the above, the IUSY urgently calls for:

  • Immediate cessation of military activities in Northern Rakhine
  • Immediate re-admission of UN Agencies and INGOs into the crisis area
  • Immediate additional funding to first responders and humanitarian workers in Bangladesh
  • Access of the UNHCR fact-finding mission to Rakhine
  • Continued dialogue between Bangladesh and Myanmar. Setting up of a Joint Border Management
  • Admission of international press to cover the situation in Northern Rakhine
  • International Conference on the proposals of the Advisory Commission on the Rakhine State
  • International Conference on Regional Implications of the Kofi Annan report by receiving cross-partisan delegations from regional countries esp. Bangladesh, but also India, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia.
  • A global solidarity action on social media. Leaders or activists holding placard with hashtag #freedom4rohingya #justice4rohingya #solidarity4rohingya

Howard Lee
President of the International Union of Socialist Youth

Death penalty in the Philippines: stop it now!

Philippines - Death penalty

The International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY) strongly condemns the passage of the death penalty bill in the Philippine House of Representatives. Aside from being intrinsically flawed and illegal, the bill is a setback in the overall fight for freedom, social justice, and human rights and dignity across the world.

The death penalty is anti-poor. It systematically targets small-time drug peddlers forced into the industry by poverty and inequality. It disregards the rights of victims of substance abuse to seek rehabilitation and rebuild their lives. It endangers the lives of thousands of innocent individuals who may be misidentified or framed by the incompetent and corrupt police force.

Once under detention, poor Filipinos do not have the financial resources to hire the services of competent lawyers. Court cases can take years. Furthermore, mistakes in convictions in the Philippines are not unusual. No less than the Philippine Supreme Court acknowledged in 2004 that the judicial error rate on death penalty cases was 71.77 percent. 

The reimposition of the death penalty in the Philippines will affect the marginalized members of society the most, not the drug lords who have since fled the country or the corrupt politicians who pocket the money of Filipino taxpayers.

The death penalty solves nothing. There is no compelling reason to re-impose capital punishment, particularly for drug-related offenses. Across the world, there is a growing consensus that it is the assurance of being caught and prosecuted—not the degree of penalty—that deters individuals from committing crimes. 

Moreover, in the Philippines, crimes are largely a result of poverty. One of five Filipinos lives below the poverty line. Millions do not have access to quality, accessible, and relevant education. The labor sector is beset by high unemployment rates, low wages, lack of tenure, and other unfair labor practices. These factors, along with neoliberal economic policies, trap people in a vicious cycle of intergenerational poverty. 

Legislation to boost the economy and provide opportunities and protection to everyone should be the priority of the government, not death to victims of circumstance. 

The passage of the death penalty bill did not undergo due process. The time for Congressional debates was considerably short while voting for the bill was railroaded. Opposing lawmakers were threatened with sanctions, from being stripped of their committee chairpersonships to having their congressional districts defunded. 

This is undemocratic. A vibrant, functioning democracy provides a platform for discourse and dissent. As a co-equal branch, it must be ready to act as a check-and-balance to the excesses of the Executive branch. The current Philippine House of Representatives has, sadly, become a rubber stamp to President Rodrigo Duterte’s undemocratic policies. 

The death penalty is a setback to the global campaign for human rights. The passage of the bill will have far-reaching effects beyond Philippine borders. The Philippines is a signatory to several international treaties and conventions that prohibit the reimposition of the death penalty. For years, Southeast Asian countries have looked towards the Philippines in their own struggle to eliminate the death penalty in their respective jurisdictions. 

The underlying message that there is a need to bring back the death penalty to curb the presence of illegal drugs will effectively derail the headway made by civil society organizations in countries like Malaysia and Indonesia.

As the Senate reviews its version of the bill, we offer our support to the Filipino people fighting the death penalty. The Resistance continues. We, the progressive youth leaders of the world, are one in the struggle of Filipinos for social justice, human rights, and equality.

APC Leadership Conference “Decent pay, decent work for a decent life for Asia Pacific Youth”

Overview

What:                      Regional meeting for members of the Asia-Pacific Region
When:                     10-13th November 2016
Where:                    Delhi, India
Age:                         18-35 years
Size:                         2 participants per member organisation
Deadline:                Wednesday 12 October 2016 (23:59 CET)

Outline

Asia Pacific Is home to nearly 60% of the world’s population, it’s also one of the fastest growing regions in the world, that on itself creates certain issues that if not addressed or lacking the necessary structures to sustainably maintain some standards of living as well as a strong political education in order to enable the population to identify the root causes of those issues and ‘walk’ towards possible solutions rather than reproducing the same reality for future generations.
The region also (understandably) holds over 60% of the young people in the world hence the youth issues that other regions are experiencing are magnified here.

Theme

“Decent pay, decent work for a decent life for Asia Pacific Youth”

The programme will take place over two days on Friday 11th and Saturday 12th November. A draft programme will be sent out in advance of the event.

Participant profile

Each member organisation in the region may register up to two participants for the meeting. Please note that delegations must be gender-balanced and a delegation cannot consist of two men. Participants must hold a leadership position in their organisation and organisations will need to approve all applications.

Participants must be able to attend the entire programme of the seminar. All participants must be aged 18-35 years old, with no exceptions. IUSY organisations that have a membership debt and/or haven’t paid their 2016 membership fee (without an agreement with the Control Commission) are not eligible for reimbursement.

How to apply

Participants must apply by completing the digital registration form by Wednesday 12th October 2016 at 23:59 CET.

Registration form

Invitation-APC-10-13th-november-2016

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**

Invitation to IUSY Global Seminar 2016

IUSY Global Seminar 2016 – the future of global social democracy

14-17 July 2016 – Gothenburg, Sweden

What:                      Political gathering for leadership members of IUSY MOs and SSU districts
When:                     14-17 July 2016
Where:                    Gothenburg, Sweden
Age:                         16-35 years
Size:                         1 participant per IUSY member organisation or SSU district
Deadline:                Sunday 12 June 2016 (23:59 CET)

Participant profile

Each IUSY member organisation may send one participant and each SSU district may send one participant to the seminar. These persons should hold a leadership position in their respective organisation/district, as they must be able to take back what they have gained from the seminar to their organisation/district and use the outcomes to enact change nationally or regionally.

How to apply

Participants must apply through the online registration forms by Sunday 12 June 2016 at 23:59 CET. There are separate application forms for IUSY member organisations and SSU districts.

Follow this link to complete the registration form for IUSY member organisations.

Follow this link to complete the registration form for SSU districts.

IUSY member organisations can only get one application approved after sending in application. SSU districts are only able to send one participant each. Therefore it is essential that organisations and districts agree who will be the participant rather than allowing multiple members to apply.

More information

You can view the detailed information by following this link to the full invitation. 

You can join the Facebook page for the IUSY Global Seminar 2016 here.

IUSY World Council 2015- An Equal World Is Possible

Dear Comrades,

 

We have the pleasure of inviting you to the forthcoming:

 

 

IUSY WORLD COUNCIL 2015

– An Equal World Is Possible

Yerevan, Armenia – 7th May to 10th May 2015

 

“Peace is something more than the absence of war, although some nations would be thankful for that alone today. A durable and equitable peace system requires equal development opportunities for all nations.”

    – Willy Brandt

 

2015 is an important year for the future of international development. The UN Special Summit on Sustainable Development, the UN Climate Change Conference, and the European Year for Development are just a few landmarks that will outline the work of the international community on the struggle for peace, equality and sustainable development in the upcoming years.

 

It is also the time for us to discuss together the challenges of today and tomorrow in order to propose our solutions for a more equal and fair world. Together we will make an equal world for all possible!

 

Please make sure to save this date. More information will follow in a few days.

 

We are looking forward to meeting you all again to enjoy both: fun and politics. Our hosting organization, AYF in Armenia, is happy to welcome you all in Yerevan.

 

With Socialist Regards,

 

Felipe Jeldres             Evin Incir                                 Sarkis Megerdichian

IUSY President          IUSY Secretary General       AYF Secretary General

IUSY World Festival 2014

THANKS TO EVERYONE FOR AN UNFORGETTABLE IUSY WORLD FESTIVAL 2014!

A week of friends, fun and politics – that is the promise the IUSY World Festival holds. This year about 1000 young activists from around the world came together on the beautiful Island of Malta.  It was an unforgettable week at the IUSY World Festival 2014 in Malta. We engaged in discussions, we experienced international solidarity, we made new friends and we did not forget about the fun. We left the Festival with new motivation, new inspiration and also a lot of new friendships.

Our thanks go to the Maltese comrades from FZL Malta 
who were a great host for the socialist youth from around the world.