General Assembly in Istanbul, 2016

Resolutions adopted at the 39th General Assembly

14th – 17th April 2016, Istanbul, Turkey

Resolution 1: Human Rights Before Immunity

Submitted by the Young Liberals of Norway (NUV)

Noting that:

  • the American policewoman and whistleblower Kathryn Bolkovac in 2001 discovered the organized human trafficking and sexual abuse of women by UN peacekeepers in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Bolkovac was threatened, pressured to keep silent and was forced to leave her job in the UN
  • a secret UN report was leaked to French legal authorities in the summer of 2014 by the swede Anders Kompass.
  • Sexual abuse by UN Peacekeepers was first documented in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo in the early 1990s, and there have been similar reports of human trafficking into brothels by UN peacekeepers since then.

Recognising that:

  • the report Kompass leaked withheld evidence of sexual abuse against young boys at a centre for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Central African Republic by the hand of French UN soldiers.
  • Kompass was suspended from his job at (OHCHR) the Office of the High Commissioner for Human rights, and that he risks losing his job permanently.
  • Refugees have been sexually exploited for food rations, and that women and children have been exposed to brutal violence and rape in Haiti, Darfur and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • during the last two decades multiple reports have been put forward on sexual violence committed against defenceless civilians by the soldiers sent to protect them.
  • the crimes have seldom resulted in a just trial, and there is bound to be undiscovered abuse.

Aware of:

  • the fact that the UN charter of 1945 gives all UN employees protection under the principle of immunity from criminal prosecution.
  • the fact that immunity only can be lifted by the UN Secretary-General.
  • the fact that the UN does not have legal jurisdiction over soldiers sent by member-states, and that the member-states in general have been unwilling to take legal action on their own soldiers.
  • the fact that the immunity, if not lifted, will pose an obstruction for countries that want to prosecute abuse by their own officials, because they will not be able to interview UN employees who have been aware of the abuse and other criminal activities.

Believing that:

  • Immunity all too often leads to UN employees not being held responsible for their own illegal actions in the field.
  • The UN Secretary-General should use his power to lift the immunity of UN personnel, when there is evidence of abuse in line of duty for the UN.
  • The UN has a moral responsibility to ensure that UN officials follow the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

IFLRY calls for:

  • the UN Secretary-General to remove immunity for UN peacekeepers, when they deliberately and grossly disproportionately break universal human rights, and especially when officials commit organised sexual and other abuse.
  • The reinforcement of this obligation should be carried out by a permanent special commission within the system of the International Court of Justice, having a due status to carry out the necessary procedures related to each mission under the UN flag in order to investigate and decide upon the claims on human rights violations by UN personnel.
  • change in the UN’s laws so that states that send troops are legally obliged to prosecute their citizens when there is evidence of abuse and exploitation while in duty of the UN.
  • the UN to continue to improve training tools for peacekeepers based on available technology, particularly computer-based instruction modules.
  • the UN to continue community awareness-raising efforts to combat the perception that sexual exploitation and abuse is acceptable and educate the public about available reporting mechanisms.
  • the UN to improve the UN investigative procedures so that they meet the standards of the new UN Administration of Justice system, which adjudicates UN internal disputes and disciplinary matter.

 

Resolution 2: Resolution on development aid level

Submitted by Radikal Ungdom 

Recalling that the UN Monterrey Consensus of 2002 on Financing for Development clearly states a global target of domestic GDP to development aid to be 0.7% by 2015.

Concerned that the global level of GDP given to development aid by the member countries of OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) is at approximately 0.3% according to OECD’s numbers for 2015.1

Emphasising the importance of raising the level of GDP given to development in order to have a financial ground to reach the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by

The International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) calls for:

  • The UN to encourage member countries of OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) to raise their level of GDP to development aid to the minimum target of 0.7%.
  • An aim to reach the global minimum level of 0.7% in the next 5 years in order to have a comfortable amount of years to secure the application of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

1 http://www.oecd.org/dac/stats/development-aid-stable-in-2014-but-flows-to-poorest-countries-still-falling.htm

 

Resolution 3: Resolution on the issue of illegal felling of the rainforest

Submitted by Radikal Ungdom

Recalling:

  • That harvesting of protecting areas, trade of timber that are in the breach of domestic or international law as well and/or given harvesting rights based on corruption are all considered illegal.

Considering:

  • That between up to 650 million cubic meters of rainforest land are felled illegally every year.
  • That illegal felling constitute for up to 20-40% of all loggings.
  • That estimates suggest that almost 40% of the Amazonas Rainforest will be felled by 2030.

Acknowledging:

  • The global issue that the continuing felling of rainforest have for the indigenous people and the future of our planet’s nature.
  • That the primary reason for this development is the short-term profit gained by usage of the areas for farming.
  • That long-term consequences for felling rainforests continuously are extremely damaging to our nature, because overusing the land will make it useless for future agricultural purposes.

The International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) calls for:

  • Countries’ governments and civil society actors to fight for reducing the illegal felling of rainforests.
  • The UN to support with aid to promote long-term and sustainable loggings and usage of the grounds.
  • Raising awareness among the relevant actors in order to make a global agreement that deals with illegal felling and impoverishment of the rain forest areas.

 

Resolution 4: Promoting mental health awareness

Submitted by Jonge Democraten (JD)

Noting that:

  • According to the World Health Organization four out of ten leading causes of disability in the developed countries are mental disorders. By 2020, major depressive disorder (MDD) will be the leading cause of disability in the world for women and children.
  • Stigma, discrimination and social exclusion related to mental illness exist, fuelled by lack of awareness and education surrounding mental health.

Believing that:

  • Social stereotypes should be actively challenged in order to promote acceptance, create understanding and take action on mental health issues.
  • Because cultural stereotypes are assimilated from an early age, young people should be the target for mental health awareness campaigns, since they are the next generation to eliminate stigma and discrimination.
  • Providing young people with basic knowledge for understanding mental health issues is vitally important for detecting mental illnesses and offer care at an early stage.
  • Mental health awareness is supportive to emotional well-being and inclusion.

Calls upon IFLRY and its MOs to:

  • Increase its lobby and advocacy efforts to stress the need for health awareness and the education of young people on mental illness.
  • Encourage its member organizations to actively promote the need for mental health awareness in their national contexts and among their mother parties.
  • Promote increases in the availability of personnel trained in mental health counselling in schools, and higher education institutions.

 

Resolution 5: Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights: Liberalizing Women’s Sexual Rights

Submitted by Jonge Democraten (JD)

Recognizing

  • the distinction between sexual and reproductive rights and health, whereby
    • sexual rights are those rights related to the individual’s sexual freedom. This includes the right to abortion and the protection against practices such as genital mutilation, forced marriage, and rape.
    • sexual health focuses on the protection of the individual against and appropriate treatment of HIV/AIDS;
    • reproductive health focuses on the available medical care for pregnant women;
  • that SRHR contributes to the emotional and physical wellbeing of women and girls.

Considering that:

  • the current development in conflict zones and the subsequent refugee movements create additional threats to vulnerable groups, including young and adolescent girls and their protection of SRHR.
  • urbanization and a growing population in developing countries increases challenges posed to reproductive and sexual health problems of women.

Believing that:

  • Freedom of choice should be at the core of SRHR-advocacy;
  • Access to appropriate education on SRHR is key;
  • Men play a vital role in the safeguarding of SRHR, as they are equally responsible for the protection of the women’s freedom of choice and dignity;
  • IFLRY has a unique role to play as global progressive youth-led platform.

Calls upon IFLRY to:

  • increase its lobby efforts on SRHR through international platforms, such as Liberal International, ICMYO, UN ECOSOC and other appropriate and governmental organizations;
  • encourage its member organizations to prioritize SRHR-advocacy in their national contexts and among their mother parties.

 

Resolution 6: Assisting LGBTQ2+ Refugees

Submitted by Young Liberals of Canada (YLC)

Noting that:

  • as of July 2015, seventy two countries still have laws that persecute LGBTQ2+ people.
  • the United Nations Human Rights Council passed A/HRC/RES/17/19 in 2011, expressing grave concern at acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
  • the United Nations Human Rights Council passed A/HRC/RES/27/32 in 2014, welcoming positive developments at the international, regional and national levels in the fight against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
  • the UNHCR launched a training campaign in 2015 directed at educating UNHCR staff, protection and humanitarian workers on international law, operational protection, conducting interviews, determining health and refugee status, which were focused on practical guidance when assisting LGBTQ2+ refugees and asylum seekers.

Recognising that:

  • LGBTQ2+ refugees fleeing persecution still face a wide and complex array of challenges and threats at all stages of displacement, including discrimination, prejudice, violence, difficulty accessing humanitarian services, and barriers to articulating their protection needs during asylum procedures and other interactions with protection and humanitarian workers.

Calls upon IFLRY and its MOs to:

  • work with their UN partners, governments and stakeholders to advocate for the establishment of a UN Envoy on LGBTQ2+ Rights, with a focus on LGBTQ refugees, and other LGBTQ human rights issues.
  • to advocate for immigration policies within their respective liberal parties which recognise the specific needs of LGBTQ2+.

 

Resolution 7: Eliminating coal-fired energy by 2030

Submitted by Young Liberals of Canada
WHEREAS, 195 countries’ parties to the UNFCCC agreed in Paris to limit global average temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius, striving for 1.5;
WHEREAS, developed countries, under the provision of the UNFCCC’s common but differentiated responsibilities, are required to assist the least developed, developing, and rapidly industrializing countries with climate mitigation and adaptation;
WHEREAS, the single largest impact to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions is the elimination of coal-fired plants;
WHEREAS, coal-fired energy is still widely in use around the world, with many countries with existing and new applications for coal-fired power;
BE IT RESOLVED, that the International Federation of Liberal Youth encourages its Member Organizations to work with the parties of the UNFCCC to eliminate coal-fired energy generation around the world by 2030.

 

Urgent Resolution 1: IFLRY Resolution on the 2016 Nagorno-Karabakh border incidents

Submitted by: IFLRY Caucasus Programme, JOVD (Jongeren Organisatie Vrijheid & Democratie)

Noting that:

  • armed engagements in the Nagorno-Karabakh region in early April 2016 have led to over a hundred casualties, both local civilians & military, both Armenian & Azerbaijani sides,

Considering that:

  • territorial conflicts between the two Caucasus nations are long standing, however a single engagement has not resulted in such high loss of life since the 1994 ceasefire,
  • ceasefire violations have continuously hindered resolve of this frozen conflict, although negotiations are arranged through OSCE Mink Group led by Russia, USA and France as co-chairs, Armenia, Azerbaijan & the autonomous region of Nagorno-Karabakh do not have formal diplomatic relations amongst each other,
  • in addition to small arms & artillery used in the conflict, a significant increase in the use of armed drones has in turn increased in the deployment of defensive measures,

IFLRY:

  • condemns the violence on the Nagorno-Karabakh border which resulted in such unnecessary loss of life,
  • calls on Armenia & Azerbaijan to uphold ceasefire agreements to prevent further violence,
  • calls on the respective governments to decrease their arms presence on the border.
  • calls on the respective governments to engage in meaningful dialogue, in which the establishment of formal diplomatic relations is vital.

 

Urgent resolution 2: Free Böhmi! There Are No Limits to Satire

Submitted by: Junge Liberale (JuLis)

Considering:

  • The current lawsuit of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Ergoğan against German comedian Jan Böhmermann for a defaming poem claiming that Ergoğan enjoys hostile actions towards Kurds and Christians as well as zoophilia and child porn.
  • Ergoğan called in the German ambassador early this year for another satire video aired by the German public-service broadcaster ARD.
  • Turkish critics of the Turkish president face horrendous charges and that there are currently more than 1,800 open lawsuits against people accused of insulting the Turkish president.

Acknowledging:

  • IFLRY’s commitment to freedom of speech and freedom of the press as sacrosanct pillars of liberal civil society.
  • The importance of satire, controversy, and public discourse to an open society.
  • The increasing censorship and repression of minority opinions in Turkey.
  • The importance of the debate on the limits of satire in Germany and Europe.

The International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) calls for:

  • The German government to abstain from persecuting Jan Böhmermann on behalf of Recep Tayyip Ergoğan and to acknowledge that giving in to such official limitations is on par with formally imposing censorship.
  • Its Member Organizations to condemn putting boundaries on satire and freedom of speech
  • and to lobby for the abolishment of related legislation concerning satire and public figures (e.g. in Germany: §103 and §90 StGB.).