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

2nd Working group on Political economy

2nd working group on Political economy of IUSY and YES

Dear Comrades,

we have the pleasure of inviting you to the forthcoming:

IUSY / YES 2ND WORKING GROUP ON POLITICAL ECONOMY

What’s left of the economy

Riga, Latvia

18/21 May 2017

Overview

What: 2nd Working group on Political economy – Organised by IUSY and YES
When: 18-21 May 2017
Where: Riga, Latvia
Age: up to 35 years

Number of participants:

for Europeans: The number of participants is not limited for the period of the registration, however please note that due to high interest no more that 4 participants will likely to be selected. All delegations must be gender balanced.

for non-Europeans: up to 2 participants for each non-European Regional Committee (Asia-Pacific, Africa, America and Mediterranean)

Please note that the working language of the seminar will be only English.

Deadline for registrations:

for Europeans: Friday 28 April 2017 (23:59 CET)
for non-Europeans: Friday 14 April 2017 (23:59 CET)

All the participants must apply via the online form. Apply now
Outline

During our 2nd Political economy Working group seminar, we are going to evaluate the work that has happened so far, engage in discussions on various economic issues and draft a first campaign.

Our work so far has happened decentralized and mostly online. We want to use this opportunity to bring everybody, who participated in the process and everybody, who is interested in the political economy, together.

Theme

At the center of our seminar in Riga are the multiplier workshops on Friday. In five full day workshops on topics, including Tax evasion, International Labor movements, Socialist Utopia, Financial regulations, trade and development economics we will discuss these issues and our positions in depth and provide you with the necessary literature and methodical tools to reproduce the workshop in your local organization.

We want to facilitate knowledge about the political economy in all our member organizations and engage as many people into the work of our group on these important issues.

On Saturday, there will be two panel discussions, one including the Mayor of Riga, Nils Usakovs on “Socially responsible cities” between we are heading to the streets with Restart Latvia.

On the last day, we will develop and outline an international campaign and our next steps as a working group.

For any questions or remarks please don’t hesitate to contact the IUSY Secretariat at iusy@iusy.org or the YES Secretariat at office@youngsocialists.eu

We are very much looking forward to seeing you!

With best regards,

Alessandro Pirisi IUSY Secretary General
Lucie SusovaYES Head of Office

APPLY THROUGH THE ONLINE FORM:

INVITATION LETTER, PROGRAMME AND TECHNICAL DETAILS (.pdf file)

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.

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.

Donald Trump’s hate speech is a threat to the world

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IUSY condemns the expressions of discrimination of the new president of the United States of America, Donald Tump, which represent a setback in the struggles for equality and the union of the peoples of the world. The violence expressed in both his speeches and his proposed policies against immigrant groups, the African American community, the LGBTI community, and women are the doorway to intolerance and hatred.

We – the International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY) – are concerned by such proposed policies that would mean a setback in the hard-won rights, therefore we strongly encourage the unity of the progressive actors against the conservative advance represented by President Trump, and the strong defense of the liberties accomplished. Furthermore, his denial of climate change is also concerning, posing a huge obstacle to the implementation of global agreements to build a world that is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable.

We cannot but condemn Donald Trump’s white supremacist discourse, racism, and passivity in stopping his followers’ hateful actions against various ethnicities in the United States. We firmly believe that a more just and egalitarian world can only be built from tolerance and plurality.
Finally, we are baffled to notice the stands taken by Michael Pence, Vice-President of the United States, against the LGBTI community and against the right of women over their own bodies, as well as his closeness to ultraconservative fractions during his office as Governor of Indiana.

We stand in solidarity with the progressive actors who have demonstrated and fought the rise of the right-wing in the United States, with all the comrades who marched on the Women’s March on January 21, and especially with our YDS colleagues. We call on the progressive organizations of the world to stand together and establish joint actions in light of the role of the United States in the international agenda as one of the global leaders.
Together we will win.

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]