IUSY is concerned about actions against democracy in Venezuela

Maduro Venezuela

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The International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY) expresses its concern about the actions taken by the Venezuelan government against its democratic system.

The young socialists of the world have followed all the political processes that are taking place in Venezuela, their consequences and the current economic, political and social crisis affecting the Venezuelan people.

We have done a study visit more than a year ago where we were able to representatives of the country from all fields: political, economic, social, and even with the internationally renown study houses.

The political irrationality, the disrespect to the separation of powers, the confrontation between them, as well as the powers that are granted to the President of the Republic in civil, criminal and administrative matters by the Supreme Court of Justice, are actions that break the Political and democratic coexistence.

The serious political confusion, including political violence between the main political actors of the country, are of great concern for the international community. As the largest youth political organization in the world, we have objectively appraised this whole process, where the call to plural dialogue and respect for democratic principles have been our main expression and unbelievable position.

We believe that the latest actions promoted by the Venezuelan government deepen the crisis. As the main political actor in Venezuela, the government must promote a space of plural dialogue, including all political and social sectors, where the common points are the elements to initiate and achieve progress for the good of all.

We reiterate the call for plural dialogue, and we urge the main political actors of both the government and the opposition to the cessation of political violence, we also hope to respect the institutions and ask for the recognition of the entire Venezuelan people.

We express our willingness as an international youth organization to promote and foster spaces for plural dialogue in Venezuela, where young people have much to contribute and build.

At IUSY we are all over the world to fight and promote solidarity, equality, and democracy.

Act on terror: they did their worst, we will do our best

London attack

On behalf of IUSY, we extend our hand of solidarity and most heartfelt condolences to all those affected by the catastrophic incident of terror unfolded outside of Westminster London.

We also condemn – on no uncertain terms – the despicable and inhuman acts, upon the gates of one of the most prominent and recognisable symbols of modern democracy: Westminster Abbey in London.

The attack has brought terror and shockwaves of fear unto lives of practitioners of democracy, Londoners, as well as tourists from all around the world there to witness and experience one of the oldest functioning democracies at work.

For those who have been injured and suffered losses as a result of the attack, our hearts and spirits are with you. For the brave public service and law enforcement personnel, who are on high alert and currently working overtime to re-stabilise London, our gratitude and solidarity are with you. For those who are no longer with us, we mourn you.

Exactly one year after the Brussels attack, it is difficult to dispute the terroristic intent behind the attack. This shows a strategically planned and placed attack on democratic institutions and the notion of peace. This tactic of dividing and disrupting peaceful democratic societies with fear and terror must be opposed, with a strong measure of human resolve and a timely unification of all lovers of peace.

It is time that all of humanity join hands and hearts in fighting fear and violence, with courage and hope. It is time that we, the Progressives, extend our hands of peace and progress to fellow humans of all colour or creed; for Peace. More so now than ever before, that we must respond to these manifestations of the worst of humanity, with the best of our human nature.

It is in that spirit, that we, young socialists and progressives, now quote a Conservative former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Sir Winston Churchill, when London was attacked during the second world war, “You do your worst, and we will do our best”.

Howard Lee, International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY) President
Alessandro Pirisi, International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY) Secretary General

The EU-Turkey agreement it’s not the migration policy that we need!

European Union - Turkey agreement it's not the Migration policy that we need!

Today, it is one year since the deal between the European Union and Turkey on relocation of refugees came into force.

In the absence of a functional relocation scheme within the European Union, a deal was forged that would effectively push back refugees to Turkey, deemed a safe third country. There are, however, numerous reports from leading human rights organisations that Turkey is not safe for refugees (source: HRW, Amnesty International).

The European Union – Turkey deal decreased the amount of crossings along the so called Eastern Mediterranean route from Turkey to Greece. However, the number of migrants trying to reach Europe via the so called Central Mediterranean route from North Africa to Italy increased . The latter route is considerably more dangerous than the former, leading to new deadly records each year. More than 5000 migrants lost their lives in the Mediterranean in 2016  – more than any previous year. In the first two months of 2017, the death toll in the Mediterranean is already higher than in previous years. The vast majority of these victims were attempting to reach Italy (source: IOM).

One year later, we regret to note that the EU-Turkey deal has worsened the already dire situation of thousands of displaced persons. Furthermore, deals modeled on the EU-Turkey deal with even less stable countries, like Libya and several countries in North Africa, threaten to lock up vulnerable people in inhumane situations. We, therefore, demand the following:

1. The urgent implementation of a functional framework for the resettlement of refugees in the European Union. The size of the quotas must reflect the actual needs of protection of asylum seekers.

2. Sufficient support to countries of entry, in particular Greece and Italy, to ensure decent living conditions for refugees and the resources needed to expediently process asylum applications.

3. The abolishment of the Dublin-II regulation and an end to the nationalization of asylum policy in general.

4. The constitution of a European Agency for Asylum and Migration responsible for the examining of asylum applications. This agency has the responsibility to coordinate the national asylum agencies, increase the efficiency and grant for the rights of refugees by consistently applying existing European standards.

5. The creation of more legal channels of migration in order to save lives and reduce human trafficking by all EU Member States to commonly introducing a “humanitarian visa system” allowing refugees to enter the EU territory legally, and thus be able to seek asylum on humanitarian grounds upon arrival. The adoption of common criteria for these visas, and the enabling of asylum seekers to apply to all of the EU countries in any EU embassy by creating a common asylum policy at European level.

6. The revoking of the EU-Turkey deal and the halting of plans for other similar deals with third countries, such as with Libya, until there are guarantees that all agreements with third countries comply with the international humanitarian legal obligations of EU member states. The EU to work together to even out the differences in financial responsibility of member states in managing the external border in order to make sure that no country feel that it is necessary to outsource border control to non-EU countries.

7. The allocation of sufficient resources to the Asylum and Migration Fund, which will include the former asylum and refugee funds, in the EU Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020. The EU to ensure that the EU external aid priorities and fundings are coherent with the ones of the Asylum and Migration fund.

Signatories:

EFAy – European Free Alliance Youth
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
YEL – Youth of the European Left
YES – Young European Socialists
FYEG – Federation of Young European Greens

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.

La prohibición de Trump: discriminatoria, hipócrita e irresponsable

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“Expreso mi más profundo disgusto y pesar por la prohibición de Trump de ciudadanos de Irán, Irak, Libia, Somalia, Sudán, Siria y Yemen”, dijo Howard Lee, presidente de la Unión Internacional de Juventudes Socialistas, Secretario Internacional de DAPSY y Miembro de la Asamblea Legislativa del Estado Perak, Pasir Pinji.

Prohibir a cualquier persona de cualquier país es tan malo, si no peor, que una “prohibición musulmana”. Decir que alguien es un terrorista potencial únicamente en base a su nacionalidad y, más aún, a la religión, es el grado más alto de discriminación. La religión es una elección, pero no hay elección en donde uno nace. ¿Dónde terminará? Bélgica tiene el mayor recluta de ISIS por habitante en el mundo: ¿el Presidente Trump va a prohibir a los belgas entrar en Estados Unidos? Mi propio país, Malasia, es una nación de mayoría musulmana, que muchos consideran como un semillero con las condiciones perfectas para que los operarios de la IS sean reclutados y basados. ¿Cuándo es el turno de Malasia para entrar en la lista de prohibición?

Los criterios citados para la política sobre quién se prohíbe también es el grado más alto de hipocresía. Según la orden ejecutiva de Trump, aquellos que “colocan ideologías violentas sobre la ley americana“, “participan en actos de intolerancia u odio” o “oprimirían a los estadounidenses de cualquier raza, género u orientación sexual“. Simplemente reemplace la palabra “Americanos” en cualquiera de esos puntos con cualquiera de las siete nacionalidades que enfrentan la prohibición y será demasiado fácil ver la hipocresía de la misma.

Una denominación común entre las siete naciones que se enfrentan a la prohibición es que los Estados Unidos han sido una parte significativa de las acciones militares, si no las han llevado a cabo. ¿Cómo pueden los Estados Unidos golpear militarmente a una nación y no estar dispuestos a admitir a los ciudadanos victimizados y devastados por la guerra como refugiados y, además, prohibirlos? Esto ya es bastante malo. Alguien consideraría la intención de la acción militar estadounidense en esas naciones prohibidas como una razón para la prohibición, pero sería simplemente hipócrita.

La democracia es sobre la rendición de cuentas a la gente. Los Estados Unidos, que en muchas ocasiones han asumido el papel de líderes del mundo libre, también deben ser responsables ante los pueblos del mundo. Al traicionar el espíritu de los padres fundadores de los Estados Unidos, el presidente Trump no sólo ha sido irresponsable para el mundo, sino que ha sido irresponsable con la democracia, la libertad, los derechos constitucionales y, esencialmente, América y el pueblo estadounidense.

Quisiera citar al primer Presidente de los Estados Unidos, George Washington, cuando dijo: “El vientre de América está abierto a recibir no sólo el opulento y respetado extraño, sino los oprimidos y perseguidos de todas las naciones y religiones a quienes acogemos con beneplácito la participación de todos nuestros derechos y privilegios”. Y otra vez: “Siempre había esperado que esta tierra pudiera convertirse en un refugio seguro y agradable para la parte virtuosa y perseguida de la humanidad, a cualquier nación a la que pertenezcan”.

Muchos jóvenes, progresistas y ciudadanos de todo el mundo continúan prometiendo solidaridad y amistad con el pueblo estadounidense. Respetamos el derecho de los estadounidenses a la soberanía, pero cada vez es más difícil dar respeto al máximo titular de la posición política y al Comandante en Jefe de los Estados Unidos de América.

Interdiction de Trump: discriminatoire, hypocrite et irresponsable

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“J’exprime mon profond dégoût et mon regret sur l’interdiction des citoyens d’Iran, d’Irak, de Libye, de Somalie, du Soudan, de Syrie et du Yémen”, a déclaré Howard Lee, président de l’Union Internationale des Jeunes Socialistes, Secrétaire international de DASPY et Membre de l’Assemblée législative de l’État de Perak, Pasir Pinji.

Interdire quiconque de n’importe quel pays est aussi mauvais, sinon pire, qu’une “interdiction musulmane”. Dire qu’une personne est un terroriste potentiel uniquement en raison de sa nationalité et, plus encore, de la religion, c’est le degré le plus élevé de discrimination. La religion est un choix, mais il n’y a pas de choix dans l’endroit où l’on est né. Où va-t-il se terminer? La Belgique a le plus haut recrutement d’ISIS par habitant dans le monde: le Président Trump va-t-il interdire aux Belges d’entrer aux États-Unis? Mon propre pays, la Malaisie, est une nation à majorité musulmane, que beaucoup considèrent comme un foyer avec des conditions parfaites pour les agents de l’IS à être recruté et basé. Quand la Malaisie va-t-elle entrer dans la liste des interdictions?

Les critères cités pour la politique sur qui obtient l’interdiction est aussi le plus haut degré d’hypocrisie. Ils sont, selon l’ordre exécutif de Trump, ceux qui «placent des idéologies violentes sur la loi américaine», «se livrent à des actes de fanatisme ou de haine» ou «oppriment les Américains de toute race, sexe ou orientation sexuelle». Il suffit de remplacer le mot «Américains» dans l’un de ces points avec l’une des sept nationalités face à l’interdiction et il deviendra trop facile de voir l’hypocrisie dans l’interdiction.

L’un des dénominateurs communs parmi les sept nations faisant face à l’interdiction est que les USA ont été une action militaire importante, sinon menée, sur eux. Comment les États-Unis peuvent-ils frapper militairement une nation et ne pas être disposés à l’admettre en tant que réfugiés victimes et déchirés par la guerre et, en outre, les interdire? C’est assez mauvais. Quelqu’un considérerait l’intention de l’action militaire des États-Unis sur ces nations interdites comme raison de l’interdiction, mais ce serait juste hypocrite.

La démocratie concerne la responsabilité envers les gens. Les États-Unis, qui à maintes reprises dans l’histoire ont assumé le rôle de chef du monde libre, doivent aussi être responsables devant les peuples du monde. En trahissant l’esprit des pères fondateurs des États-Unis, le président Trump n’était pas seulement irresponsable envers le monde, il était irresponsable envers la démocratie, la liberté, les droits constitutionnels et, essentiellement, l’Amérique et le peuple américain.

Je voudrais citer le premier président des États-Unis, George Washington, lorsqu’il a dit: “Le sein de l’Amérique est ouvert à recevoir non seulement l’opulent et respecté étranger mais les opprimés et persécutés de toutes les nations et religions à qui nous participerons à tous nos droits et privilèges“. Et encore: “J’avais toujours espéré que cette terre deviendrait un asile sûr et agréable à la partie vertueuse et persécutée de l’humanité, à toute Nation qu’ils pourraient appartenir”.

De nombreux jeunes, progressistes et citoyens du monde entier continuent de promettre la solidarité et l’amitié avec le peuple américain. Nous respectons le droit des Américains à la souveraineté, mais il devient de plus en plus difficile de faire respecter le plus haut titulaire de la position politique et le commandant en chef des États-Unis d’Amérique.

Trump’s ban: discriminatory, hypocritical and irresponsible

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“I express my deepest disgust and regret on the Trump ban of citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen”, said Howard Lee, president of International Union of Socialist Youth, DAPSY International Secretary and Perak State Legislative Assemblyperson, Pasir Pinji.

Banning anyone from any country is as bad, if not worse, than a “Muslim ban”. Saying that someone is a potential terrorist solely on the basis of his/her nationality, and, more so, religion, is the highest degree of discrimination. Religion is a choice, but there is no choice in where one is born. Where will it end? Belgium has the highest ISIS recruit per capita in the world: is President Trump going to ban Belgians from entering in the U.S.A.? My own country, Malaysia, is a Muslim-majority nation, which many consider as a hotbed with perfect conditions for IS operatives to be recruited and based. When is Malaysia’s turn to enter the ban list?

The criteria cited for the policy on who gets ban is also the highest degree of hypocrisy. They are, according to the Trump executive order, those who “place violent ideologies over American law”, “engage in acts of bigotry or hatred” or “would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation”. Just replace the word Americans in any of those points with any of the seven nationalities facing the ban and it will become too easy to call the ban hypocrisy.

One common denominator among all seven nations facing the ban is that the U.S.A. have been a significant part of, if not led military actions on them. How can the U.S.A. strike a nation militarily and do not be prepared to admit it victimised and war-torn citizens as refugees, and, furthermore, ban them? This is bad enough. Someone would consider the intent of the U.S.A. military action on those banned nations as a reason for the ban, but it would be just hypocritical.

Democracy is about accountability to the people. The U.S.A. who have, on many occasions in history, taken up the mantle of being the leader of the free world must also be responsible and accountable to the people of the world. By betraying the spirit of founding fathers of the U.S.A., President Trump has not only been irresponsible to the world, he has been irresponsible to democracy, liberty, constitutional rights, and, essentially, America and the American people.

I just would like to quote the first president of U.S.A., George Washington, when he said: “The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respected Stranger but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges“. And again: “I had always hoped that this land might become a safe and agreeable asylum to the virtuous and persecuted part of mankind, to whatever Nation they might belong”.

Many youths, Progressives, and citizens around the world continue to pledge solidarity and friendship with the American people. We respect the Americans’ right to sovereignty, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to afford respect to the highest political position holder and Commander in Chief of United States of America.