Executive Committee in Timisoara, Romania 2011


Resolutions adopted at the 2011 Executive Committee 

22nd – 24th July 2011, Timisoara, Romania


Resolution 1: Finish the Doha round now! 

Submitted by: Norges Unge Venstre (NUV), Jongerenorganisatie Vrijheid en Democratie (JOVD) and Juventude Democratas


Recalling:

  • that the member states of GATT and WTO have had eight rounds of negotiation, all mainly focused on the liberalisation of industrial goods;
  • That the Doha negotiations were promised to create a new and free trade system on agricultural products and developing countries; that the number of people in absolute poverty in developing countries, which opened their markets to the global economy defined by the World Bank as “new globalisers”, has declined significantly;

Believing:

  • that free trade is fair trade and that all countries benefit from a trade system as free as possible;
  • In the need for a strong and well-functioning WTO to keep world trade free from protectionist measures and within international trade agreements;
  • In the necessity of an agreement on trade with agricultural products for the further development of countries whose competitive advances are in the agricultural sector;

Disappointed:

  • about the lack of progress in the Doha negotiations that was started in 2001;
  • about the breakdown of negotiations in 2008;
  • about the commitment to open borders as an effective means of development aid
  • that for too long, reports of WTO negotiations have been dominated by opposing groups protesting against globalisation and trade liberalisation;

International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) calls upon:

  • all member states of the WTO to go resume negotiations and finish the Doha round with a progressive and free trade agreement; by November 2011, ten years after it was initiated.
  • WTO’s member states to eradicate trade barriers and cut in subsidies and custom charges;
  • Member organisations to discuss and debate free trade within and between their organisations;
  • The IFLRY programme on ‘Free trade is fair trade’ to present a working document for further debate at the next IFLRY congress.
  • its Member Organisations to actively promote trade liberalisation

 

Resolution 2: For more Freedom and Security 

Submitted by: Youth Movement for Rights and Freedoms (YMRF)


Certain processes are under way in and near Europe, indicative of reinforcing the rights and freedoms of citizens worldwide. More than 7 countries already are experiencing processes, which may be defined as close to revolutionary. For political and economic reasons, (hereditary) dictatorships are a phenomenon to be put to an end.

Acknowledging that:

  • the regimes in Tunisia and Egypt are changing;
  • changes in Libya and Bahrain are imminent;
  • similar processes are maturating in Syria, Yemen and Oman;
  • Greece is dealing with economic and political issues;


Realizing that:

  • in many cases the initiaters of a revolution become the first victims of the new regime;
  • such processes may lead to the emergence of various populist government regimes, which are very far from the principles of democracy.

As young liberals, we insist that the regimes in these countries realize the need for acknowledging human right of choice as the foundation of any state organization. This will certainly prevent future revolutionary changes and will establish the road of evolutionary development for these countries. Politicians must embrace dialogue. Moreover, we urge the regimes in these countries to show political wisdom and accept the need for fundamental changes in state government by introducing a multi-party system, establishing economic and political stability, and enforcing the rule of law in several major directions:

  • respect for human rights;
  • citizens’ right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association;
  • freedom of speech and print;
  • elimination of hereditary governments;
  • systematic dialogue between politicians and civic society;
  • independent and free judicial system and honest police;
  • non-intervention of law enforcement agencies in the civil life of the country;
  • holding of fair elections and establishing of shorter term of office for the governments;
  • ensuring equal participation of women in these processes.


The International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) appeals to:

  • Herman Van Rompuy , President of the European Council;
  • José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission;
  • Catherine Ashton, Baroness Ashton, High Representative for Foreign Affairs;
  • Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament;
  • OSCE, the Council of Europe and PACE;

to employ all possible means for guaranteeing respect of human rights and freedoms in these countries by ensuring the most favorable conditions for staged, peaceful and evolutionary development of government and civil structures there.


Resolution 3: Achieving education for all

Submitted by: Jongerenorganisatie Vrijheid en Democratie (JOVD) and Norges Unge Venstre (NUV)  


Notes that:

  • Over 115 million primary-school-age children do not attend school and large numbers of children drop out before they reach any degree;
  • There are 882 million illiterates in the world;
  • More than two thirds of the governments in the world allocate less than the minimum of 6% of their Gross National Product (GNP) to education as recommended by the Delors Commission;
  • The majority of industrialised countries do not allocate 0.7 % of their GNP to development as recommended by the UN General Assembly, and only a small part of the funds provided for development is allocated to basic education;
  • JOVD is deeply concerned about the persistence of the gender gap in education, which is reflected by the fact that nearly two thirds of the world’s adult illiterates are women.
  • Through empowering the individual, education is the most effective form of developmental aid.


Believes that:

  • Literacy, especially functional literacy, and quality education represent a lifelong necessity for all and serve as an investment in human and social capital and a major tool for the empowerment of people;
  • All governments have a responsibility to fulfil their human rights obligation to provide, free and compulsory basic education of good quality for all children, especially girls, youth, immigrants, indigenous students, children with special needs or in difficult circumstances and those belonging to ethnic minorities, in accordance with the commitment made in the Dakar Framework for Action by 2015. In today’s world, the mission of quality public schooling is not limited to the basic years of education, but includes secondary school and the acquisition of vocational qualifications;
  • It is not sufficient to improve enrolment figures without considering the quality of education
  • Partnership between organizations is a key concept for the achievement of education for all. The objective of the different parties must be the common interest. Proposals and activities must be implemented respecting the responsibilities of the different partners, and financing must preserve the public character of education;


Acknowledges:

  • the efforts and preparatory work on the 2015 goals of education for all, stressing the need to identify and evaluate further needs and progress on the improvements of education;


Recommends that:

  • Governments put in place a mechanism for information, consultations and negotiations aimed at improving teachers’ excellence and working conditions, the resources, learning materials and equipment in schools, teacher education and the training of educational personnel;
  • Public schools be based on democratic participation, and accountability to civil society, a partnership to elaborate new ways of co-operation between school and parents, a partnership between schools, and different sectors of the community, and a shared commitment to combat child labour;
  • Without putting into question the priority role of public and private formal education, new forms of cooperation and broad national alliances be sought, particularly with NGOs, in order to develop complementary forms of education in the context of the objectives of education for all;
  • A universal commitment to education for all must include reforms of International Monetary Fund and World Bank structural adjustment policies; a policy and programme for debt reduction; increased allocations to public education at all levels in the development co-operation budgets of the industrialised countries;


International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) should:

  • Call for a detailed plan of action in cooperation with other organisations, such as the UN, IMF, World bank and UNICEF, to pressure governments to meet their obligation to provide free public quality education for all;
  • Call on member organisations to promote the right to education for all and to call on their governments to create conditions for all for learning throughout life.

 

Resolution 4: Nord Stream Gas pipeline in the Baltic stream 

Submitted by: Youth Assembly of Estonian Centre Party (YAECP)  


Noting that:

  • Many governmental agencies responsible for environmental protection and representatives of environmental associations have drawn constant attention to the fact that constructing the Nord Stream pipeline in a shallow and a very eco-sensitive Baltic Sea would cause serious environmental risk, including:
  1. damage to the Natura 2000 areas;
  2. may cause environmental disaster due to highly toxic industrial sediments and post-World II chemical weaponry dumped in particular to the Gulf of Finland;
  3. an unprecedented construction area (2400 km ² – that is equal to the territory of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg), in such a relatively small and enclosed Baltic Sea;
  4. and serious pollution threat posed by thousands of tons of chemicals (aldehydes), which are needed to clean the pipeline before its introduction.
  • After environmental damage, Nord Stream Gas Pipeline causes security threat to the Baltic coastal countries when Russian warships monitor all the Baltic Sea near the Baltic States’ coastline which may provoke conflicts, when we look at historical experiences.
  • This pipeline project is not only two-sided matter between Germany and the Russian Federation. The Baltic Sea Environment Protection is the most important European Union’s so-called Northern Dimension task.


Considering that:

  • For such a large-scale project, environmental impact assessment has been made too hastily and without taking into account the opinions of the environmental specialists and the governments of the Baltic Sea coastal countries, such as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
  • Investors didn’t take into account the need to first consider other possible pipeline routes, which do not harm the marine environment; bearing in mind that there is a chance to build gas pipeline on land, passing from Russia to Germany exclusively through the European Union countries. According to the experts’ opinion, the construction of the pipeline on the land would be much cheaper and more environmentally friendly.
  • The governments of Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany forsook the principles of environmental protection for economical benefits. Double standards in environmental protection policies of these countries who have usually stood for the environmentally friendly policies, is unacceptable and a bad example for other countries.


Recalling that:

  • such big project like the Nord Stream gas pipeline construction which has a huge influence on the environment and on all the Baltic Sea States, must take into account all the opinions and the decisions can´t be made in haste.
  • The Baltic Sea States and the European Union must devote more attention to the Baltic Sea as one of the world’s most sensitive marine ecosystem and do this with deeds, not words.

 

Resolution 5: Reducing inequality, promote and use secondary biofuels

Submitted by: Jongerenorganisatie Vrijheid en Democratie (JOVD)  


Considering that:

  • Over the last years, concern about global climate change and energy security has dramatically increased interest in biomass‐derived energy
  • However, in the first place primary biofuels actually lead to more green house gas emissions then they decrease such as in the case of rapeseed corn.
  • In the second place, the cultivation of energy crops competes increasingly with the cultivation of food crops. This threatens food security as well increases staple food prices, e. g. corn and soya especially in developing countries.
  • To stop this threat the development of secondary biofuels should be given preference since they produce less CO2, do not exploit local inhabitants and do not threat food security.


Noting that:

  • Biomass is, along with wind, sun and geothermal power, a promising alternative to fossil energy sources. However, it has become clear that the promotion of the use of biomass for the production of fuels can have ecologically harmful impacts and can cause or intensify social problems in developing countries.
  • The cultivation of energy crops occupies large areas. The involved plantation often leads to a displacement of small farmers and a corresponding pressure on the living space (often rain forests) of the indigenous population. If rainforests and other high biomass lands are cleared on a mass scale for biofuel production (which may happen in lower income countries) then the amount of green house gases emitted would be staggering, up to 420 times more GHG’s emitted. Multiple studies have been found to draw the same conclusion. Fuels made of staple food like corn or soya should be strictly rejected.
  • The profit for the local population is mostly very low with the promotion of energy crops like palm oil often actually increasing the impoverishment of the local population. Resources currently used for energy crop cultivation in developing and emerging countries could well be used more effectively. With the use of locally produced energy you can substitute expensive imports of natural gas and crude oil and can build local value-added chains.
  • The mechanisation of cultivation, the needed irrigation of fields and the increased use of fertiliser and pesticides result in pollution of the environment and endangerment of the local peoples.
  • Agricultural plantations are often linked with severe violations of human rights. The cultivation of energy crops, e. g. palm oil, promises a high profit. This leads, especially in Asia and Latin America, to heavy land conflicts (e.g. with the paramilitary groups) and is often linked with disastrous social and work conditions (day labourers).
  • Government aid for fuels made of biomass sends wrong signals not only regarding the increasing of mobility but also for technology development.
  • Money that is invested in the development of ethanol or biodiesel technology is tied up for long periods and can retard sustainable strategy and policy.
  • Biofuel may raise the price of certain foods, which are also used for biofuel such as corn.
  • FEARING that increased demand for fuel and energy, including biofuel, will compete with other demands upon agriculture land such as food production and that this will lead to the conversion of wetlands and other threatened ecosystems, including sites previously the subject of restoration projects
  • Recognition that 70% of globally abstracted water is already being used for irrigated agriculture and that biofuel production could increase the threats to water resources and wetlands and biodiversity, including threats to wetlands through their conversion and adverse affects on water quality
  • Acknowledgement that the conversion of wetlands and other habitats risks releasing high levels of greenhouse gases from the carbon they store and that land use change is already causing increases in global GHG emissions.
  • The CO2 reduction potential and the overall ecological effect of biomass fuels strongly depend on the basic material and production conditions. The greatest advantages come from fuels that are made of waste and residual material (e. g. methane/biogas).
  • This leads to the exploitation of ecologically valuable uncultivated land or to the displacement and the exploitation of local populations (e.g. cultivation of oil palms) which must be viewed critically.
  • The use of biomass fuels is not the solution that paves the way for sustainable vehicle traffic. Top priority still needs to be given to reducing traffic volume and traffic performance, respectively, and to the use of energy efficient vehicles.,
  • The capital cost is over 700 million dollars to develop secondary biofuel processes which would yield a better quality and more efficient fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions even more.


Calls for:

  • The use of biogenous waste and recycled material as fuels (bio methane) must be given preference over the promotion of agricultural cultivation of energy crops.
  • An analysis of the potential social, environmental and human rights impact in developing countries to create an internationally accepted quality label which includes ecological and social criteria equally.
  • The import and the use of biomass fuels in particular from developing and threshold countries should be avoided as long as no internationally accepted label has been established that includes both ecological and socio-political criteria.

 

Resolution 6: A new diplomacy with focus on Middle East and North Africa 

Submitted by: International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) Bureau


  •  Stressing that the Middle East and North Africa is a region highly diverse in political and economical terms, with countries ranging from modern to traditional, from prosperous to poor, and from democratic to harshly authoritarian;
  • Having been inspired by the recent uprisings of the region in pursuit of liberal democracies based on freedom, human dignity and social justice, and recognizing the particular role played by the young people and women in the so-called Arab spring;
  • Noting however that although the degrees of authoritarianism or liberalism vary, all these countries still suffer from substantial democratic deficits where opposition is weak or altogether banned, where the judiciary and legislative branches of government are not independent and where checks and balances on the executive are more often than not missing, where women are not in all countries part of the electorate and where the executive is not always elected in a truly democratic process;
  • Underlining the great potential or great challenge that the demographic unbalance of a disproportionally large youth population provides;
  • Noting that among the most difficult challenges for the region are the provision of equal access to qualitative social services; high unemployment rates, primarily among young citizens, contributing to financial insecurity and social instability; and high levels of corruption;
  • Stressing the fundamental importance of free trade and free access to markets, notably the European single market, for the economic development of region;- Expressing concern over the low ratio in which women are involved and included in both the political sphere and the work force;
  • Believing that freedom and human rights are universal values naturally pursued by all women and men regardless where they come from, and that illusions of stability built on autocratic rulers that deprive its people’s of fundamental freedoms are bound to fail;
  • Regretting that the post 9/11-discourse with regard to the region has been focused mainly on security policy at the expense of the democracy building agenda and on occasion also at the expense of respect for human rights;
  • Regretting that the international community reacted too softly and too slowly to the incumbent regimes throughout the Arab democratic uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain and Yemen, recalls that Europe’s links with these regimes were often unprincipled in the past and stresses that it is time to address the concerns of the democratic governments of the future, stresses that people’s aspirations for greater freedom, democracy, self-determination, rule of law and human dignity always have to supported;
  • Welcoming the Joint Statement of the Network of Arab Liberals, Liberal International, the European Liberal Democrats and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in regard of supporting freedom, popular uprisings in the Arab world and strengthening fora and tools for future cooperation, signed in Cairo on 7th May 2011,


Therefore, International Federation of liberal Youth (IFLRY):

  • Strongly disagrees with the myth that Islamic societies are incompatible with democratic government and underlines that the wish for democracy, human rights and human dignity is globally shared by all mankind and to be denied no one on the pretext of religious, cultural or traditionalistic pretexts;
  • Supports the formation of political parties, development of an independent media sector and the rebuilding of an open civil society independent of the executive and of a fair and independent judicial system;
  • Stresses the importance of independent media and of new information channels via the internet; calls for increased support within international development cooperation for ICT solutions and technology to be spread and used with the aim of providing independent, open and unbiased information to enable men and women to better make free choices in their political reality;
  • Welcomes that the unanimous adoption of UN Security Council resolution 1973 (2011) concerning Libya creates a historical precedent in the fight against impunity by referring the prosecution of crimes against humanity committed by Gaddafi and members of his regime to the International Criminal Court in the Hague;
  • Calls on the international community to step up its support for democratic processes in the countries that are on the path towards political transition in the region, both at a political and economic level;
  • Calls on a review of the EU neighbourhood policy to prioritise criteria relating to the independence of the judiciary system, respect for fundamental freedoms, pluralism and freedom of the press and the fight against corruption;
  • Expresses its unfaltering support for the democratic movements and actors in the region who strive for the rights and dignity of all Arab world men and women at this crucial point in time.


Resolution 7: The positive power of Social Media and Internet as tools for Democracy

Submitted by: International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) Bureau  


Recalling:

  • that suppression of independent thought by filtering, monitoring and censoring of social media constitutes a violation of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


Recognizes:

  • important role that social media such as Facebook and Twitter and other information networks have played in the events in the middle east and north Africa, such as the 6 April youth movement in Egypt that started as a Facebook group. Without social media it would have been much harder to oust the dictatorial regimes in Egypt and Tunisia.
  • that the Internet has the poser to foster a strong and influential civil society under oppressive regimes.
  • that social media have given the most marginalized groups a voice and a place to express themselves and that these groups use social media to organize victims of torture, support political dissidents, raise awareness about sexual harassment, expose corruption etc.
  • that, whereas undemocratic regimes have over and over clamped down on the free media, social media have managed to keep citizens informed and inspired thousands to claim their freedom. As access to internet is still on the rise, the power of social media will grow accordingly.
  • That curbing access to social media limits the freedom of expression and therefore must be seen as a violation of human rights.


Notes:

  • with concern that governments increasingly have the tendency to control and limit access to social media, for example by using internet filters and blocking websites.
  • That the discussions on (Internet) censorship are threatening the freedom of expression as a safeguard of an open society;
  • with concern that authoritarian regimes around the world have taken action against prominent bloggers who have given voice to the opposition. Bloggers and social media activists in various countries have been intimidated, beaten up, arrested and imprisoned without charge.


International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) calls upon:

  • its member organizations to safeguard the freedom of expression as stated in the UN declaration on Human Rights
  • companies worldwide to refrain from selling soft- and hardware that is specifically designed to be used for these purposes to regimes that may use them to limit access to the internet.
  • its member organizations to be involved in promoting and protecting the freedom of the Internet worldwide,
  • Liberals, national governments, internet providers, international organizations and NGO’s worldwide to treat access to internet and social media or alternative publishing channels as a priority matter for the cause of freedom and democracy.
  • its Member Organisations to call upon their governments to enshrine internet access as a universal civil right;
  • national governments to provide support mechanisms and tools for human rights and democracy activists in authoritarian countries that offers them safe and anonymous access to internet and social media, for example by allowing such access at embassies and consulates within the respective authoritarian countries.
  • Its member organizations to oppose any forms of state censorship on the Internet.

 

Resolution 8: The rule of Law

Submitted by: International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) Bureau


  • Recognizing that, the peoples of the world continue to be confronted with serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in different regions of the world, as well as with the breakdown and failure of the Rule of Law within several national frameworks;
  • Recognizing further the overarching imperative of the need to protect people from such violations of basic human rights norms, to seek justice and reparations for the victims and to put an end to impunity as essential prerequisites for the establishment of lasting peace and the resolution of the root causes of conflicts;
  • Acknowledging the vital role that can be played by Liberals worldwide to promote the rule of law, fight impunity and seek justice;
  • Observing that impunity for perpetrators of atrocities only serves to increase the likelihood of the commission of new, equally horrific crimes and may indeed lead to the re-escalation of violence resulting in the recurrence of internal or international armed conflicts;
  • Recognizing the vital deterrent effect that the International Criminal Court has, by virtue of its jurisdiction and very existence, on war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide;
  • Noting the growing prominence and entrenchment of the International Criminal Court in global affairs, most notably when the UN Security Council unanimously referred the Libya situation to the ICC;
  • Applauding the fact that 114 States have, to date, ratified, or acceded to, the Rome Statute and others have expressed their intent to do so, welcoming in particular the recent decision by the government of Malaysia to accede, the signature of the instrument of ratification by Philippine President Benigno Aquino, and the declared intent of the interim government of Tunisia to accede;
  • Urging other States, which are not yet parties to the Rome Statute, to ratify or accede to it as early as possible, including States from under-represented regions within the ICC system — Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and North Africa, and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS);
  • Recalling the principle of complementarity, which puts the primary obligation to investigate crimes with countries themselves, leaving the ICC as a court of last resort;
  • and, reaffirming the need to implement legislation to enable national judicial systems to try perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide;


International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) Calls on liberal organizations and politicians, individually and collectively, to:

  1. Undertake efforts to achieve a greater universality of the Rome Statute through the ratifications by countries that are not yet party thereto;
  2. Undertake efforts to achieve the full implementation of the Rome Statute of the ICC in the national legal orders of State Parties, taking into account best practices and existing highly regarded legislation already in place in certain countries;
  3. Promote national efforts to investigate and prosecute international crimes and promote the rule of law;
  4. Enhance political and diplomatic support for the fight against impunity in general and the ICC in particular, supporting and respecting the independent judicial institutions engaged in the fight against impunity as well as mainstreaming the fight against impunity in bilateral and multilateral relations, including in the area of international development cooperation and aid.

 

Resolution 9: Resolution on discrimination 

Submitted by: Jongerenorganisatie Vrijheid en Democratie (JOVD) and Norges Unge Venstre (NUV)  


Considering that:

  • there are many instances of positive and negative discrimination in Europe and is spread around the world,
  • positive discrimination is especially related to jobs and job seeking, where negative discrimination is occurring more generally,
  • some governments are forcing companies to hire specific numbers of female employees or employees belonging to specific ethnic groups,
  • some governments are using quota for female employees or employees belonging to specific ethnic groups within their own organizations as well,
  • discrimination is unlawful,


Believing that:

  • all people, male or female, are socially equal,
  • discrimination, be it positive or negative, is not only against the law but also against basic human principles,
  • companies and governments have the freedom and the obligation to hire the person that is best able to perform on a job and not a less capable person just because he or she matches specific social criteria,


International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) calls on:

  • all governments and other representative bodies to no longer enforce regulations on positive discrimination and instead prosecute negative discrimination.