On the Turkish referendum

Turkish referendum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chechnya - rainbow flag in front of the Moscow Kremlin

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

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

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

IUSY stands in solidarity with the LGBT community in Chechnya.

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

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

Death penalty in the Philippines: stop it now!

Philippines - Death penalty

The International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY) strongly condemns the passage of the death penalty bill in the Philippine House of Representatives. Aside from being intrinsically flawed and illegal, the bill is a setback in the overall fight for freedom, social justice, and human rights and dignity across the world.

The death penalty is anti-poor. It systematically targets small-time drug peddlers forced into the industry by poverty and inequality. It disregards the rights of victims of substance abuse to seek rehabilitation and rebuild their lives. It endangers the lives of thousands of innocent individuals who may be misidentified or framed by the incompetent and corrupt police force.

Once under detention, poor Filipinos do not have the financial resources to hire the services of competent lawyers. Court cases can take years. Furthermore, mistakes in convictions in the Philippines are not unusual. No less than the Philippine Supreme Court acknowledged in 2004 that the judicial error rate on death penalty cases was 71.77 percent. 

The reimposition of the death penalty in the Philippines will affect the marginalized members of society the most, not the drug lords who have since fled the country or the corrupt politicians who pocket the money of Filipino taxpayers.

The death penalty solves nothing. There is no compelling reason to re-impose capital punishment, particularly for drug-related offenses. Across the world, there is a growing consensus that it is the assurance of being caught and prosecuted—not the degree of penalty—that deters individuals from committing crimes. 

Moreover, in the Philippines, crimes are largely a result of poverty. One of five Filipinos lives below the poverty line. Millions do not have access to quality, accessible, and relevant education. The labor sector is beset by high unemployment rates, low wages, lack of tenure, and other unfair labor practices. These factors, along with neoliberal economic policies, trap people in a vicious cycle of intergenerational poverty. 

Legislation to boost the economy and provide opportunities and protection to everyone should be the priority of the government, not death to victims of circumstance. 

The passage of the death penalty bill did not undergo due process. The time for Congressional debates was considerably short while voting for the bill was railroaded. Opposing lawmakers were threatened with sanctions, from being stripped of their committee chairpersonships to having their congressional districts defunded. 

This is undemocratic. A vibrant, functioning democracy provides a platform for discourse and dissent. As a co-equal branch, it must be ready to act as a check-and-balance to the excesses of the Executive branch. The current Philippine House of Representatives has, sadly, become a rubber stamp to President Rodrigo Duterte’s undemocratic policies. 

The death penalty is a setback to the global campaign for human rights. The passage of the bill will have far-reaching effects beyond Philippine borders. The Philippines is a signatory to several international treaties and conventions that prohibit the reimposition of the death penalty. For years, Southeast Asian countries have looked towards the Philippines in their own struggle to eliminate the death penalty in their respective jurisdictions. 

The underlying message that there is a need to bring back the death penalty to curb the presence of illegal drugs will effectively derail the headway made by civil society organizations in countries like Malaysia and Indonesia.

As the Senate reviews its version of the bill, we offer our support to the Filipino people fighting the death penalty. The Resistance continues. We, the progressive youth leaders of the world, are one in the struggle of Filipinos for social justice, human rights, and equality.

IUSY Presidium condemns the restriction of academic freedom in Hungary!

Hungary Passes Law Targeting George Soros-Funded University in Budapest

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

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

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

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

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

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

IUSY manifiesta preocupación por acciones contra la democracia en Venezuela

Maduro Venezuela

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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.