IUSY calls to a productive and constructive work for the future of Catalonia and the whole Spain

In light of the political situation in Catalonia, IUSY wants to express the following:

  • IUSY affirms that, in all cases, its political positions are always coordinated with its Member Organizations; in regards to the political situation in Catalonia, IUSY expresses its agreement with the opinions and initiatives undertaken so far by the Joventut Socialista de Catalunya (JSC-Spain), the Juventudes Socialistas de España (JSE-Spain), and the views expressed by the Partit dels Socialistes de Catalunya (PSC), the Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE), the Party of the European Socialists (PES) and the S&D Group.
  • IUSY believes that freedom of expression, democracy and the rule of law must always be ensured in any actions, measures or initiatives pursued by any government.
  • IUSY believes that any form of verbal or physical violence and bullying has no space in today’s political life, and shows its support to all the comrades and local representatives that have been harassed in the past days in regards to their views on this matter.
  • IUSY believes that a political problem such as that of the relation between Catalonia and the rest of Spain must be addressed from the political perspective and by ensuring that the voices of all actors are heard and taken into consideration.
  • IUSY believes that the respect of the rule of law and the political institutions is an indispensable condition for any political initiative.
  • IUSY believes that the approach taken by the government of Rajoy is wrong and counterproductive, since his extreme delegation into the judiciary is only contributing with more and growing tension to the political life in Catalonia.
  • IUSY believes that the unilateral path to the independence that the political forces in power in Catalonia have taken, with disrespect to the rights of the opposition and violating the current legal framework and the Spanish Constitution is not going to lead to any solution for the problems that the Catalans have.
  • IUSY believes that only a true, honest and sincere effort of dialogue, re-building bridges between Catalonia and the rest of Spain, reducing tensions and eventually reaching an agreement for a constitutional reform that respects all the political sensibilities and that is voted by all the citizens is the wisest procedure to provide a solution to this matter.

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

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.

On the Turkish referendum

Turkish referendum

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the country’s prime minister from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have declared victory in the Sunday referendum, won by a narrow margin and designed to hand Erdogan full power.

The new constitution grants autocratic Erdogan vast powers, including the ability to appoint judges without input from parliament, issue decrees with the force of law, and dissolve parliament. The president would also have the sole prerogative over all senior appointments in the bureaucracy and exercise exclusive control of the armed forces.
The amendments obviate the need for the post of prime minister, which would be abolished. With massive imbalances and virtually no checks on the head of state, all hopes for a democratic Turkey are over.

The entire referendum campaign took place amid political crackdown in the aftermath of a deadly military coup last July, the details of which are still unclear. After the coup attempt, Erdogan has deliberately polarized his country, spreading terror through large-scale purges, with authorities jailing 40.000 and dismissing tens of thousands of civil servants, soldiers, police officers, teachers, justice officials and others from their jobs. In a parallel set of court cases, hundreds of members of the opposition the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) have been imprisoned on terrorism charges, among them Members of Parliament.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which monitored the vote and the campaign that preceded it, concluded in its preliminary assessment that the referendum took place in an environment of unfairness that failed to fully measure up to international standards.

As independent media outlets and their dozens of journalists were arrested or exiled, the AKP’s campaign for Yes dominated Turkey’s media and public spaces.
During the campaign, the AKP rallied nationalist voters by equating the No camp with terrorism. According to the OSCE, the state did not ensure that voters were provided with impartial or balanced information on the amendments and their potential impact, thus limiting their ability to make an informed choice.

Whilst IUSY neither condone nor support Islamaphobia that is inherent within the right-wing populist narrative, we must point out that Erdogan’s use of religious polarisation and instrumentalising Islam to fan ethnoreligious nationalistic sentiment is something that must be fought and condemned.

IUSY stands in full solidarity with our comrades from HDP and CHP in their fight for democracy and freedom.

The international community must stop to ignore all kind of human rights violations in the country and put necessary pressure to release the members of the opposition, journalists, and all political prisoners.

IUSY will continue to fight for democracy, justice, and freedom, in Turkey, and all over the world!

Chechnya A.D. 1000: stop the gay concentration camps!

Chechnya - rainbow flag in front of the Moscow Kremlin

Authorities of Chechnya have launched an anti-gay campaign that has led to arresting of dozens of men suspected of being gay. These men are being kept in horrific prison camps in the capital Grozny, in Argun and maybe in some other Chechen cities. In these camps, where violent abuse and torture is common, at least three people were killed following violent acts.

The Chechen government denies all allegations. The spokesperson of Chechnya’s leader, Alvi Karimov, denies the accusations on the claim that there were no gay people in Chechnya. Other officials call these reproaches even “an April fool’s joke”.

Very few people in Chechnya speak about this issues because of the overwhelming climate of fear, where people have been largely intimidated into silence. Some Russian LGBT networks and international human rights groups set up hotlines for people seeking help and received reports of the abuses and torture inside the prison through a hotline. They criticize the consequences of the Russian “anti-propaganda law”, which was unanimously passed in the federal law banning gay “propaganda” in 2013. Until then, a sharp increase in anti-gay violence was registered in the whole region.

IUSY stands in solidarity with the LGBT community in Chechnya.

We condemn every form of violence and discrimination, in Chechnya and in the whole region, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation. We call on the Chechen authorities to immediately stop every form of violence and to fully implement human rights.

IUSY also calls on Russia and the international community to react immediately and take concrete actions in order to overcome violence and discrimination against persons on the basis of their sexual orientation.

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.

IUSY Presidium condemns the restriction of academic freedom in Hungary!

Hungary Passes Law Targeting George Soros-Funded University in Budapest

IUSY is shocked by the recently passed Hungarian legislation modifying the law on higher education, designed to close down the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, Hungary.

The attack on a leading higher education institution is unprecedented in the country and it sends a very disturbing message about the state of democracy in Hungary. 

We, members of IUSY presidium condemn this shameful move that puts the existence of the CEU in danger.

If anything, we need more universities like the CEU, more possibility for young people to study, and more academic freedom. The future of young generations depends greatly on the quality of education they can receive.

The restriction of intellectual and academic freedom paves a way for alarming tendencies. It shows that the government is aiming for a future where critical thinking is not expected from citizens. 

IUSY stand with CEU and the protesters and we also urge to contest the constitutionality of this legislation.

IUSY manifiesta preocupación por acciones contra la democracia en Venezuela

Maduro Venezuela

Read the Article in English

La Unión Internacional de Juventudes Socialistas (IUSY por sus siglas en ingles) manifiesta su preocupación por las acciones que desde el sector del gobierno venezolano se promueven en contra de su sistema democratico. 

Los jovenes socialistas del mundo hemos seguido todos los procesos politicos que se vienen dando en Venezuela, sus consecuencias y la actual crisis economica, politica y social que afecta al pueblo venezolano.

Hemos realizado, hace mas de un año, una visita de estudio donde pudimos reunirnos con todos los sectores del país, politicos, economicos, sociales e incluso con las casas de estudio reconocidas a nivel internacional. 

La irracionalidad política, el irrespeto a la separación de poderes, la confrontación entre los mismos, así como las potestades que se otorgan al presidente de la república en materia civil, penal y administrativa por parte de Tribunal Supremo de Justicia, son acciones que quebrantan la convivencia poĺitica y democratica. 

La grave confrotación politica, inlcuso violencia politica entre los principales actores politicos del país, son de gran preocupación para la comunidad internacional. Como la organización politica juvenil mas grande del mundo, hemos valorado de manera objetiva todo este proceso, donde el llamado al dialogo plural y al respeto de los principios democraticos han sido nuestra principal expresión e increbrantable posición. 

Consideramos que las ultimas acciones que ha promovido el gobierno venezolano profundizan la crisis. Como principal actor politico en Venezuela, el gobierno debe promover un espacio de dialogo plural, donde se incluyan todos los sectores politicos y sociales, donde los puntos en comun,  sean los elementos para inciar y logras avances para el bien de todos y todas. 

Reiteramos el llamado al dialogo plural, y exhortamos a los principales actores politicos tanto del gobierno como de la oposición al cese de la violencia politica, tambien, esperamos se respeten las instituciones y apuesten al reconocimiento de todo el pueblo venezolano. 

Expresamos nuestra disposición como organización juvenil internacional, en promover y propiciar espacios de dialogo plural en Venezuela, donde los jovenes tienen mucho para aportar y construir. 

En IUSY estamos en todo el mundo para luchar y promover la solidaridad, igualdad y democracia.