Duterte’s policy is a threat to the People of the Philippines

IUSY strongly condemns the outright disregard for justice and human rights by the administration of the President of Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte. IUSY also expresses deep concerns that the President has chosen to serve his own whims and the fancies of the few, over the good of his citizens and humanity as a whole. Among his worrying actions are:

 

Ever since President Duterte came into power in July 2016, unspeakable Humanitarian crimes- under the guise of a“War on Drugs”- have been committed. As of 18 December 2016, a total of 6173 Extrajudicial killings linked to Duterte policy have taken place, with the latest casualty being a 5-year old child of a rehabilitated drug user.

 

In 14 December 2016, he was quoted as saying “I’d go around in Davao with a motorcycle, with a big bike around, and I would just patrol the streets, looking for trouble also. I was really looking for a confrontation so I could kill.” This admission of murder led to several Philippine Senators’ call for the President’s impeachment. However, Secretary of Justice Vitaliano Aguirre defended the President saying the comments were meant as “hyperbole” and thus dismissed the Criminal admission.

 

Duterte has also paved the way for the impending reinstatement of the Death Penalty in the Philippines, mooted to including barbaric methods such as public hanging and firing squad. This is coupled with a pronouncement of the age of criminality to be lowered from 15 to 9 years old.

 

Duterte has also drawn criticism for allowing ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos to be buried in Manila’s Heroes’ Cemetery in 18 November of this 2016. This was explained as a way for the country to finally heal after the horrors of Marcos-declared Martial Law era. The dictator’s remains were flown in from Ilocos Norte using the Armed Forces’ cargo plane, the burial done stealthily, and was given full military honors.

 

Duterte offered Presidential pardon to the impeached former President Gloria Macapagal – Arroyo, effectively dismissing all pending corruption cases against. He has also refused to investigate police officials who were ruled by National Bureau of Investigation as having caused the murder of incarcerated Mayor Espinosa. Such abuse of power to cover up or absolve serious criminals and fellow abusers of power is despicable.

 

Duterte has launched a personal vendetta against former Chief Justice, Senator Leila De Lima, stripping her of the role as the Senate Committee Chair on Justice, the very committee holding senate inquiries on Duterte linked extra judicial killings and the Davao Death Squad. The President’s also threatened the Senator with a congressional viewing of a sex tape purportedly featuring her.

 

Duterte has recently barred the elected Vice President Leni Robredo from attending all Cabinet meetings for being critical of his decisions. This led Robredo to resign from her Cabinet post as Chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.

 

These and other acts are a far cry from the mandate given to him by the Filipino people as President. We urge President Duterte to listen to the Filipino people, stop the senseless killings, respect the rule of law and democratic institutions.

 

We also strongly call for The President to refrain from using his power to vilify and silence his critics. IUSY likewise urges President Duterte to heed the advice of the United Nations and cease all acts which undermine justice and human rights of the very people who have elected him.

 

IUSY calls on the Filipino people to remain united in the face of the current political dark age brought on by Duterte’s presidency.

IUSY urges the Filipinos to choose life over death, justice and due process over instant gratification, The dignity of humanity over one person.

 

We call on our fellow youth to serve as the beacons of truth in this trying time. We, the presidium of IUSY, are at one with your struggle for peace and security.

Stop Jammeh! A call for Democracy in the Republic of The Gambia

IUSY shows its deepest concern about the unfolding political situation the Republic of the Gambia. IUSY condemns the dramatic change of heart by the incumbent President Yayah Jammeh who has announced that he no longer accepts the national election results. He dully conceded defeat on December 2, 2016 to opposition coalition leader Adama Barrow. The people of the Gambia rejected the rule of Jammeh in the election that were held on December 1, 2016. Jammeh is popularly known for his undemocratic conduct as he attacked his political opponents and curtailed fundamental freedoms. The authoritarian rule of Jammeh started when he assumed power 22 years ago, through a military coup.

The sudden turn of events by Jammeh refusing to accept the election results makes democracy a mockery and cannot be tolerated. It is an attack on democracy and the will of the people to elect their own leaders. The people of the Gambia have spoken loud and clear by choosing their preferred candidate. IUSY and all democracy loving people of the world expect a smooth transfer of power to the new President elect Barrow.

IUSY calls for the people of the Gambia to remain united in this turbulent period as they find an amicable solution to the political impasse caused by Jammeh. Young people and democrats must stand in solidarity with the Gambian people at this dark moment.

IUSY calls upon on the international bodies, the ECOWAS, African Union, and the UN security council to stop the action of Jammeh and allow the President elect to assume office as mandated by the people. The UN security Council must respond immediately before there is blood shed in the Gambia. Let democracy and justice prevail in the Gambia.

Political Party Youth Organisations Common Statement on the Elections in the F.Y.R.O. Macedonia


The elections on December 11th provide the people of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (F.Y.R.O.Macedonia) with the possibility of a new start, and the unification of all democratic forces. And foremost, it offers the people of F.Y.R.O.Macedonia the possibility to choose the direction for the future of their country.

Free and fair elections are the cornerstones of robust democratic states. These principles are not negotiable and must be respected by all political forces. Ensuring clean electoral lists, and preventing manipulation of the electorate must have absolute priority in order to secure not only transparency and accountability, but most of all legitimacy. It is crucial that citizens are presented with a variety of meaningful options from which they can choose what kind of lives and systems they consider to be the most desirable for their very own community. This means, free and open competition between different parties. Considering that the latest European Commission report on the F.Y.R.O. Macedonia mention the increasing risk of “state capture” and expresses serious concerns regarding civil liberties, it is crucial that these elections are conducted in a free and fair way so that the country can get back on democratic track and take action in order to give a more positive outlook for the next report .

Vivid discussions focussing on the political content and ideological differences do not only allow all people to enjoy their fundamental rights, such as the freedom of speech, freedom of association and assembly, and freedom of the press, it is also a tool which fosters deeper political participation and paves the way for the emancipation of both individuals and groups. We call on all the candidates to use their opportunities and participate in public debates, thus providing enough information, so that the public can make an informed choice.

The people of F.Y.R.O.Macedonia have lived in a polarized society for many years and they deserve to once and for all enjoy their fundamental rights and democracy. Everything else is not giving them the adequate respect they deserve.

As young people, who are not only living today, but who will also bear the consequences of today’s decisions in the future, we call upon all parties and all other relevant institutions and organisations to collectively ensure that all citizens can practice the democracy they are entitled to through the constitution.

EFAy- European Free Alliance Youth

FYEG- Federation of Young European Greens

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

YES- Young European Socialists

IUSY and YES Condemn arrest of President Lee and other opposition members in Malaysia

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IUSY and YES condemn the sudden and unfair arrest of IUSY President Howard Lee and other members of the opposition in Malaysia. Howard is a Representative in the Perak State Assembly in Malaysia and he was taken into custody by the police for participating in the Bersih 5 protest, a rally asking for clean elections, clean government, the strengthening of parliamentary democracy, right to dissent, empowering Sabah and Sarawak, denounce the abuse of power by the current Prime Minister, and denounce the gerrymandering of the election commission for the upcoming elections.

Other members of the opposition were also arrested, including MP Anthony Loke, the Chairperson for Bersih, Maria Chin Abdullah, and Bersih Secretary Mandeep Singh.

At the present time, President Lee is being held at the State Police Headquarters in Kuala Lumpur and no lawyers have been let in. Howard Lee is a member of the Democratic Action Party and is the International Secretary for the party’s youth wing, DAPSY.

IUSY and YES demand the immediate release of President Lee and the cease of all politically driven arrests in Malaysia, calling for their human and political rights to be respected.

#LetLeeGo

Welcome to the Launching of the Young Global Parliamentarian Network

IUSY will be taking an initiative to start up a Young Global Parliamentarian Network.

Date: 17 October

Time: 09.30-13.30

The aim of the network is to gather local, national and regional parliamentarians to meet and discuss common challenges both policy wise and how to strengthen each other to become more influential as young parliamentarians.

The launching of the Network will take place during the upcoming Progressive Alliance Meeting, which is organised in cooperation with the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament (S&D).

IUSY will be able to cover accommodation (2 people in each room) during the PA event. The other costs will be covered by each person/organization.

We kindly ask you to forward this to all of your young parliamentarians.

For more information on the whole schedule and the registration for the Progressive Alliance Meeting, please check here REGISTRATION, Technical Details and PROGRAM. 

Deadline for registration is set for 20 September. 

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us in case on any inquiries.

IUSY Secretariat

iusy@iusy.org

BSAC 2016 declaration

DSC_0044The Black Sea Area Cooperation (BSAC) meeting 2016 brought together nine organisations from the region at the end of August, hosted by TSD Romania in Bucharest. The participants were given space to discuss a diverse range of topics such as war and peace in the region, corruption and social and economic injustice, and international solidarity and cooperation with trade unions. Participants also had the chance to visit the Romanian Palace of the Parliament, took part in a workshop on how to be more relevant in the region and shared experiences of using social media as an activist tool.

The main outcome from the event was a the production of a declaration that was drafted, debated and approved by members on the event. We would like to share this declaration with other IUSY organisations (follow the link below).

BSAC 2016 declaration

Solidarity with the people of Italy

Italy was hit by a catastrophic earthquake yesterday. The earthquake has until now deprived almost 250 people their lives and many more are injured. Furthermore, it has destroyed and brought down homes and even entire villages.
Our thoughts and hearts goes out to all the people of Italy during this time of crises.
Due to the difficult situation, our comrades of GD Italy and PD Italy have started a fundraising to help out and provide people in need help.

European reality, humanitarian crisis – doctors without borders in the Mediterranean

On Sunday evening, we are leaving the YES Summer camp: tired, yet packed up with impressions and full of excitement about our upcoming vacation in Sicily. When traveling to our first stop in Trapani, we receive messages of comrades from all over Europe sending in pictures of their symbolic “refugees welcome” paper boats being photographed at the Airport of Palermo. We are happy about having spread our political message in so many countries, but especially in Sicily since it is one of the few places in Europe for which simply relying on the Dublin Agreement has never been an option. As a result, the island has been left alone for years trying to cope with the high numbers of newly arriving refugees.

 

In Trapani we find a Bed and Breakfast located close to the harbor. When passing by, one specific boat immediately captures our attention: The Aquarius. Despite its bright orange color and its former name “Meerkatze” (engl. Sea cat) showing through the fresh coat of paint, it is not its look, but its mission that makes it unique. It is one of three boats the NGO “Médecins sans Frontières” (Doctors without borders) together with SOS Mediterranée is currently operating with in the Mediterranean.

We all sigh. Even though we had spent the last weeks discussing all the theoretical aspects of the challenges refugees face at European borders on a daily basis, seeing the impact of Europe’s policies so closely makes us shiver.

While we stand in front of the boat, two women of the crew approach us. One of them quickly turns out to be the doctor on the boat. Her colleague is working for SOS. As her main tasks she describes interviewing refugees about their journey and their treatment by Libyan and European authorities.

We ask them, how much time they get to spend in Trapani until the boat goes offshore again. They both look at each other and explain that they usually get three days off. This time, however, their stay has been elongated by a day because the crew still needs to recover from their last mission. This time, they have had to salvage 22 bodies, 22 human beings that had not made it through the Mediterranean Sea.

Not knowing what to say, we remain silent. The two women, both acting in a very professional manner, fill our silence by continuing their stories. Usually they spend about three weeks offshore, most of it close to Libyan territorial waters awaiting rescue calls.

They explain Libya to be the preferred leaving country due to its lack of governmental infrastructure. Around 20 boats are leaving from Libya daily, none of them carrying enough fuel to make it to Italy, not to mention their poor conditions and overfilled capacities.

They explain that most refugees do not make it out of Libyan territories on their first attempt, many being captured before and often being made to pay high sums to human traffickers.

SOS explains to be patrolling all areas close to the Libyan coast, including the areas covered by the FRONTEX mission Triton.

As a reason they diplomatically state the different mandates of FRONTEX and doctors without borders. Expecting to know what they are referring to, we ask about their experiences with Push Backs[1].

Their faces darken and they confirm our concerns: even though there are no direct incidents with FRONTEX, they suspect the EU of having made a deal with Libyan authorities. Similar to the case with the Turkish Deal, the European Union has handed over the dirty work to Libyan coast guards.

We do not want to keep them from anything, but they seem to be happy about our curiosity.

They continue by telling us about their last mission from which they had just returned the day before yesterday. They were taking care of more than 200 people on board, a comparably small number as we should find out later.

According to the doctor, one out of 23 refugees dies trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea. “If fleeing was a disease, the world would be shattered by its deadliness”, she explains. Despite all the tragedies they are facing on a daily basis, they still have joyful experiences to talk about. They tell us about a baby being born on the boat just two days ago, an event which she describes as an amazing experience to the crew and all of their guests. The fact that they refer to the refugees as their guests as well as their political awareness leaves us deeply impressed.

After the unexpected conversation with these fascinating women we politely ask for a more detailed interview. They ask us to come back tomorrow – an offer which we happily accept. When returning to the boat the next morning, a security guard is protecting the ship. Luckily, the SOS employee we have been talking to yesterday is standing on deck and recognizes us. She tells the security to invite us on the ship – an invitation we have not been expecting. When entering the boat, we are not sure how to deal with this overwhelming situation. A volunteer approaches us. Judging by his outfit, he is about to go for a run. He seems accustomed to tourists being interested in his work and explains that he drives one of the smaller rescue boats. He offers us a medical tour with the two nurses. Besides the doctor and a midwife, they are the only medical staff working on the boat, taking care of up to 600 guests.

 

They talk about their daily routine on boat and how – in case of emergency – journalists, nautical and medical staff are working together side by side taking care of people.

All members of the current team have already been working for Doctors without borders in the past, they are all highly skilled and familiar with the challenging work. As language of communication they state English, but all of them speak at least French in addition, some even more than three languages.

Several team members including the two nurses belong to the permanent staff of doctors without borders, others just temporarily work for them. A new doctor who usually works in a hospital in London had just arrived the day before.

Technically speaking, the crew consists of two legal entities, MSF and SOS, but in reality, they work as one – especially in situations of emergency. For those cases the crew is regularly provided with trainings; white boards explaining how to react in case of emergency can be found in every single room.

 

If there are no patients in serious conditions they continue looking for other boats, if immediate medical treatment is required, they ask for permission to enter a port on the Italian coast. The guests then get to apply for asylum in Italy and the Aquarius leaves right away to continue its mission offshore.

 

Our tour leads us to the sick room. We cannot keep from wondering how so many people could even fit inside that small room, not to mention being medically treated.

A German couple that has joined the tour asks about security measures such as masks and protective suits being used by governmental authorities. The nurse describes them as unnecessary in their case. The risk is minimal and wearing it would only make their work more difficult and frighten their guests.

 

As most difficult they describe the situation on board, when it is exceptionally crowded. The nurse explains how hard it is to ensure a dignified, yet safe and calm stay for such a large number of people. Something they want to provide to all of their guests.

 

We are impressed, shocked, sad and angry and yet burning to know more. However, we do not want to keep them from spending their well-deserved free time off the boat before going offshore again.

We are leaving the Aquarius behind with mixed feelings, waving the crew goodbye. One sentence of the nurse echoes in our heads.

“Change European politics and our work here would not be needed at all.”

By:

Naomi Dutzi

Ella Hofreiter

Matthias Krainz

Miro Verdel

[1] A push back is the deportation of a refugee before having the possibility to apply for asylum. Push backs violate the principle of non-refoulement as well as the 1951 Refugee Convention.