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

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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. 

IUSY is concerned about actions against democracy in Venezuela

Maduro Venezuela

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Urgent call to action against looming famine in parts of Africa and Yemen

According to its report on 21 February 2017, UNICEF confirmed that almost 1.4 million children are at imminent risk of death from severe acute malnutrition this year, as famine looms in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.

Why are there still famines in parts of the world in the 21st century?  What can be done about it?

The pronouncement of famine in these countries must serve as a wake-up call to all leaders of the developing world, particularly African leaders, to improve on their agricultural sectors to ensure food security for citizens.

The sheer scale and severity of the food insecurity on the African continent and in other parts of the world such as Yemen requires a much stronger response than has been the norm, and the political commitment of world leaders in halting its spread.

In Africa, poverty is undoubtedly the most fundamental cause of famine.

The failure of governments to address issues of chronic poverty has become the perpetual bane of development on the African continent and other parts of the world.

The effects of climate change further pose severe risks to the economies of developing countries, particularly those in Africa.

It is therefore imperative that there is a swift and continuous response on the part of the international community of nations to address issues of carbon emissions and improving environmental protection laws.

African governments cannot fail to notice the need for long-term planning that guarantees a high level of food security in their respective countries.

Prioritization of food security through improved agricultural production and access to food products must not be compromised.

It must be high on the agenda of the African Union and its member countries.

It is equally important to point out the fact that protracted conflicts within States have largely contributed to the ailing economic crisis leading to these famines, such is the case in Yemen and the conflict-prone nations in Africa.

Although there has been much rhetoric on the need to end conflicts in States like South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen and Syria, substantial progress has not been made in terms of peace building and humanitarian assistance within these states.

These conditions leave much to be desired of the efforts of international organizations such as the United Nations Security Council and other international agencies and governments whose actions and inactions contributed to the current conflict situations.

As IUSY calls for a cure to the root causes of famine on the African continent and the Arab League, the world must not be too slow to act to mitigate the effects of prevailing circumstances.

We therefore call on the international community for emergency aid to the affected countries for the protection of human lives.

We further call on the African Union and all other sub regional organizations to strengthen cooperation and support to neighboring countries on the brink of famine to ensure that this imminent crisis is averted.

As a people of common purpose, we have a looming crisis on our hands and IUSY calls for urgent international support of aid agencies and governments to save the lives of persons at risk of death as a result of this predicament.

Food security must be considered a key to ensuring the fundamental right to life of all humans and this underlines our values of solidarity and equality for all.

La prohibición de Trump: discriminatoria, hipócrita e irresponsable

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interdiction de Trump: discriminatoire, hypocrite et irresponsable

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump’s ban: discriminatory, hypocritical and irresponsible

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

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

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

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

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

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

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