IUSY Presidium statement on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Democratic Republic of Congo - Elections

IUSY notes with sadness the recent brutal attacks on the demonstrators in the Democratic Republic of Congo by security forces which led to the loss of some 7 lives on Sunday 31st December 2017.

This act of brutality is condemned in no uncertain terms and IUSY calls on the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to halt the violent suppression of fundamental rights and freedoms of demonstrators and supporters of opposition parties.

IUSY expresses its deepest condolences to the families and friends of the deceased in mourning the loss of their beloved who decided to devote the last day of the year in pursuit of democracy and peace in DRC.

In recent times, the level of insecurity in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been heightened as the government of President Joseph Kabila has intensified its crackdown on protestors who have demanded for the conduct of elections which should have been held in December 2016.

The deplorable height of insecurity that the country has been plunged into can also be attributed to the unjustifiable arrest and detention of opposition members by the state machinery.

Christian Lumuku, a youth activist from the opposition party, UDPS is one of such persons in military confinement who is bearing the brunt of the undemocratically aggressive measures adopted by the government of DRC.

Several dozens of protestors have also been arrested by the security forces of DRC in their quest to demand the departure and end of Kabila’s reign.

These politically-motivated actions rans counter to the principle of democracy and equality of all persons before the law.

It is against this backdrop that IUSY calls for the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to adopt all possible means that would lead to a long-lasting peaceful conduct of elections.

Even though the Election Commission has iterated that an election to replace Kabila would not be possible before April 2019, we are of the firm conviction and believe that it is within the parameters of the powers of the president to ensure that the elections are held within the shortest possible time.

The horrendous and devastating effects of political unrests on the African Continent have affected the sustainable development of the continent and it is time for leaders on the continent to take action to avert these electoral conflicts.

We call on the international community and the Africa Union to undertake drastic measures necessary to prevent the needless loss of lives on the continent in the quest for democratic govenrnance.

IUSY Presidium statement on the Sinai attack

Sinai Attack - Egypte

The International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY) is deeply shocked and saddened by the horrific terrorist attacks carried out on Friday, 24th November in Sinai, Egypt, by terrorist groups, which have claimed 336 lives and injured many innocent people.

We send our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims and our sympathy to all those who were affected by this heinous crime. IUSY stands in solidarity with all the people of Sinai and of the entire Egypt. 

IUSY underlines its firm support for and solidarity with our socialist family in Egypt, and all human rights organisations in their struggle against terrorism, radicalism, discrimination, and oppression.

We will continue to work for a society that celebrates equality, social justice and peace.

This despicable act of terror in Egypt is an attack against peace, and against all of our socialist values. However, cowardly attacks like this will not stop IUSY or any of the organisations that share the vision for a peaceful world.

Now, more than ever, we are determined to continue our collective struggle all over the world against terrorism and violence. 

Today, we stand together with the people of Sinai and of Egypt, against terror and disregard for human life and in defence of fundamental human rights and values that unite civilisations the world over.

IUSY STATEMENT ON SLAVERY IN LIBYA

African Committee: end Slavery in Libya!

It has been reported for years that those who have crossed the Mediterranean have shared stories about beatings, kidnapping and enslavement.

More recent allegations of migrants being sold into slavery in Libya have been surfacing since the International Organization for Migration first brought up the matter in April 2017.

In October, CNN discovered that sales of migrants, in particular youths from Niger and other sub-Saharan countries being sold to buyers for about $400 (£300) in Tripoli and about nine other undisclosed locations in Libya.

In the last few days, new reports have emerged that migrants trying to reach Europe have spoken of being held by smugglers and forced to work for little or no money.

Current United Nations estimates place the number of migrants in Libya around 700,000. The safety of all the migrants travelling through Libya and the preservation of freedom and human dignity is of the utmost importance to the International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY).

As an international organization focused on the fight for freedom and social justice, we emphatically denounce the atrocious acts of slave trade taking place in Libya and strongly condemns the practice and its perpetrators.

We urge the government of Libya to take swift and decisive action to put an end to all sales of persons within its territory.

IUSY further calls on the government to take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of migrants in the Country and to provide facilities and resources that are needed for the humane treatment and processing of the migrants while they are within the borders of Libya.

IUSY further calls on the International community at large to take bold and persistent action to end the modern slavery that has been overlooked for some time now.

The protection of human life, freedom from slavery and forced servitude, and the preservation of human dignity, are rights germane to the duties of all Nations under international law and international institutions particular the United Nations must be seen to be taking swift measures to end these heinous actions in Libya and other countries alike.

An enhanced international cooperation is required to ensure the clampdown on human smugglers and traffickers and the enforcement of international law that guarantees an end to the atrocities associated with slavery and human trafficking.

We finally reiterate our call to the International community to find sustainable solutions through solidarity and development cooperation to address the key challenges confronting the developing world which invariably account for the high proportions of migration from these countries travelling through unapproved routes while increasing the opportunities for legal migration.

Zimbabwe needs a democratic governance in the shortest time possibile

Zimbabwe - the Africa committee in South Africa

It has been reported on the 14th of November, 2017 that the military in charge of Zimbabwe announced through a spokesperson that the governance of the Country has been taken over by the military in its quest to purge the country of people who they believe have plunged the country into “social and economic suffering.”

The Africa committee of the International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY) calls on the military and other stakeholders in Zimbabwe to exercise restraint in their actions as they work at finding a lasting solution to the current political developments.

The supreme interest, safety and well-being of the people of Zimbabwe should be the suprime-priority for the interim period that the military assumes the helm of affairs.

Africa has a well-documented and unfortunate history of harsh military regimes that have engaged in widespread violations of human rights after the usurpation of constitutional governments. Consequently, Africans have grown averse to military interventions in governance and have developed a commitment to stable, peaceful, and prosperous democratic governance.Zi

The IUSY Africa committee shares in the collective concern of the people of Zimbabwe on the possibility of a new military dictatorship.

The Africa Committee of IUSY therefore calls the international community particularly the African Union and the Southern African Development Committee (SADC) to take pragmatic steps to ensure that the situation in Zimbabwe does not deteriorate.

The IUSY Africa Committee further calls on the people of Zimbabwe, especially Political parties, Civil society, and the media to actively, progressively and peacefully work with the leadership of the Military to restore the country to democratic governance in the shortest time possible.

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

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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]