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

#IUSY110: Apply to take part at the IUSY Global Seminar 2017

#IUSY110 - logo

Dear comrades, we are happy to invite you all to the upcoming IUSY Global Seminar 2017 ” #IUSY110 collective prospectives for our political commitment”.

The Global Seminar #IUSY110 is organised together with Swedish Social Democratic Youth League within the framework of the IUSY/SSU/OPC Global Project. It will be held in Stockholm (Sweden) from the 5th to the 8th of October.

The IUSY Global Seminar #IUSY110 will gather together the leaders of IUSY member organisations and representatives from the districts of the Swedish Social Democratic Youth League (SSU).

The aim of #IUSY110 will be to provide to the Member Organisations and to the SSU representatives a platform where discuss how to rethink our political commitment in this difficult historical moment for the left.

We have major issues affecting our world that are marginalising a growing number of people. How can we become more efficient and more influent in the decisional processes at local, national and international level?

Each IUSY member organisation may send one participant to #IUSY110.

Every applicant must register through the application below providing all of the requested information.

Participants must apply below using the online registration forms by Friday 15th September 2017 at 23:59 CEST. Participants must be able to attend the entire programme of the seminar. All participants must be aged 16-35 years old, with no exceptions. The participants will be gender balanced, therefore IUSY reserves the right to ask organisations to identify an alternative participant if the overall participation in the seminar is not gender balanced.

Please find attached the Invitation letter and the first version of the technical details.

Apply here to participate to #IUSY110:

IUSY Feminist and LGBT Working-groups meetings

Dear comrades,
we have the pleasure of inviting you to the forthcoming IUSY Feminist and LGBT* working group meetings “Collective Identities: Political dimension” that will take place in Mollina (Malaga) Spain from 17th-24th September 2017. 

This year’s IUSY Feminist and LGBT* working groups meetings will take place within the framework of the University of Youth and Development (UYD) which is an activity organised by the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe (NSC). This year’s theme of the University is Global Identities. 

Please, find attached the invitation letters for both meetings. Note, that those are two different activities taking place in parallel. We kindly ask you to read the invitations attentively, since it provides a lot of useful information for the participants, criteria for participation as well as the links to the registration. We encourage you to disseminate the call among the activists of your organisation who are engaged with the theme of the working groups. 

The deadline for registration is 28th July 2017.

Should you have any questions regarding the activity, please don’t hesitate to contact the Project Manager in charge of the meetings (Gohar – gohar.ghandilyan@iusy.org) or the IUSY secretariat (iusy@iusy.org).

We are very much looking forward to receiving your applications!

Invitation IUSY Feminist Working group

Invitation IUSY LGBT* Working group

#YouthInAction – Day 1

#YouthInAction – videolog day 1

Videolog from our 1st day of our training course on how to promote active citizenship and democracy.International activity organised with Young European Socialists and hosted by Sozialistische Jugend Deutschlands – Die Falken.Supported by Council of Europe – European Youth Foundation.#YOUTHINACTION

Posted by IUSY on Thursday, June 1, 2017

Videolog from our 1st day of our training course on how to promote active citizenship and democracy.
International activity organised with Young European Socialists and hosted by Sozialistische Jugend Deutschlands – Die Falken.
Supported by Council of EuropeEuropean Youth Foundation.
#YOUTHINACTION

Call for one IUSY Project Manager

The International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY) is looking for a Project Manager for its secretariat.

As a Project Manager of IUSY, you will be engaged in all our activities and will get broad and multicultural project management experience. You will also get a unique chance to engage with the world from a political and social perspective. The IUSY Secretariat is a small team consisting of the Secretary General, who leads the work, and three project managers. The job is full time, including frequent travel and work during weekends. The Secretariat is located in Vienna, Austria, and it is a requirement that you move and live there.

About the position

In cooperation with the Secretary General and the rest of the secretariat, the Project Manager will assist in the management, preparation and running of seminars, statutory meetings and other political initiatives set out by IUSY. The Project Manager is responsible for the IUSY global project, a cooperation between IUSY, the Swedish Social Democratic Youth League (SSU) and the Olof Palme International Center (OPC). The Project Manager will be responsible for project and funding applications, as well as reporting. In addition to the previously mentioned tasks, the Project Manager will assist with the daily running of the secretariat, such as answering emails and phones, updating the website and whatever else the Secretary General needs to run the office

Requirements

You are expected to have good organizational skills, be structured and have the ability to cooperate with people from different backgrounds and cultures, as it is an organization with about 150 members from 100 different countries around the world. Since the main language is English, it is a requirement that you can speak and write fluently in English. It’s also a plus if you master Spanish and/or French.

  • Ability to work under stress and strict deadlines
  • Stand for the values of IUSY
  • Ability to quickly and flexibly adapt to different customs, cultures, and conditions.
  • Ability to multitask and work from abroad
  • Oversee the correct carry-out of IUSY projects
  • Creativity and problem solving

Assets

(Not mandatory, but very well received)

  • Budgeting/bookkeeping skills and/or experience
  • Project drafting skills and/or experience
  • Fundraising strategy skills and/or experience


Working Conditions

  • Full-time contract with flexible working hours (approximately 38.5h/week).
  • IUSY is the employer.
  • The new staff member is expected to join the office between the middle of August and the middle of Septemeber, but this is something that can be discussed.
  • 14 pays of 2.500€ gross

Application

Apply by submitting a motivation letter and CV to https://podio.com/webforms/18591752/1251153, by the 6th of June.

We will process the application continuously, so please send your application as soon as possible.

Contact:

Rebecca Abrahamsson, International Secretary SSU
Rebecca.Abrahamsson@ssu.se
(+46)730519160

IUSY Secretariat
iusy@iusy.org
(+43)015231267

Training course on promoting active citizenship and democracy

The main aim of the project is to increase the engagement of young people in the policy debate on issues relevant to them, their influence on the outcomes of the decision-making and their active part in the democratic process.

Objectives of the course:

  • Organize a debate and learning program for young people and youth organizations to explore the reach of democratic participation and, in particular, their role in the society.

  • Discuss and outline the issues of particular concern to young people and their response and proposals for solutions.

  • Provide an opportunity for young people and youth organizations to cooperate and combine their efforts in order to be able to support each other in the struggle for their rights.

  • Explore the tools and mechanisms for young people and youth organizations to increase their presence in the society and their influence on the democratic process.

Participants profile

  • Grass root youth activists from IUSY/YES partner/member organizations
  • Interested in the topic of active citizenship and democracy
  • Interested in developing follow-up proposals on the topic

How to apply

To make sure that everyone has equal chance in participating, participants must apply via the online application form.

DEADLINE for the registration is May 15th, 2017.

The final confirmation will be sent to all participants within 2 days after the deadline of the registration.

Eligible member/partner organizations per country

Country

Number of participants

Albania

2

Armenia

1

Austria

1

Belarus

1

Belgium

1

Bosnia and Herzegovina

1

Croatia

1

France

2

Georgia

1

Germany

1

Hungary

2

Republic of Moldova

1

Montenegro

1

Netherlands

1

Norway

1

Poland

2

Serbia

1

Slovenia

1

Spain

2

Sweden

1

Turkey

2

Ukraine

1

United Kingdom

2

Costs

There is no participation fee for the project. Travel, accommodation, and food will be fully covered by the project.

Arrivals and Departures

Day of arrival for the activity is the 31st of May and day of departure is the 5th of June.

Please make your travel arrangements accordingly and do not forget that IUSY will not be able to cover accommodation or any other additional expenses for participants who need to stay additional nights.

Invitation letter and travel details (.pdf)

Application close on 15th of May

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.