March 15, 2017: “Just Work, not Bullets”

The International Young Christian Workers (IYCW) is declaring March 15 International Day against Police Violence and State Repression. We have experiences from all around the world of increasing incidents involving the use of force by police and the military to suppress the demands of the population for Just Work, Equality and Dignified life.

For instance, the Walloon YCW noted that in recent months, following the attacks in Brussels and Paris, the Belgian government had decided hastily the implementation of a range of security measures and racistic laws that attack the foundations of democracy in the country. “The evacuation and arrest of undocumented people last September 19, 2016 in Molenbeek, which took place with an extraordinary deployment of police forces (helicopters and heavy weapons) is symptomatic of the way the government is criminalizing undocumented migrants by turning them into potential terrorists. We can also see an intensification of raids carried out in working-class districts and in areas of exploitation of undocumented workers, in particular in Matongé and Saint Josse. In the post-terrorist context, the instrumentalization of fear enables the public authorities to put in place policies and safeguards that lead to mass surveillance.”

Meanwhile, in the Philippines, the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) headed by Daisy Arago, a former Philippines YCW activist, expressed alarm over the spate of extrajudicial killings in the country.  “The Philippines government was catapulted to power based on a promise to bring about ‘peace and order’. But an order anchored on killings of drug pushers and addicts, particularly the poor, without due process is not only brazen violation of human rights but a mockery of peace that this nation has long wanted to achieve. Indeed, the poor have become pawns and fall prey to drug syndicates; they risk selling drugs as their means of livelihood.  When the oppressed lacks or no access to decent jobs, they also become vulnerable to committing crimes in order to survive.”

The use of police power and forces is the uniformed response to the legitimate demands of the youth, workers and of the general public, instead of listening to them. Trade unions, peoples’ movements and other organizations who are fighting for the rights of people are often tagged “inner enemy of the state".  This argument is used by politicians to mask their inability in addressing the real causes of poverty and insecurity: unemployment, casualization and informalization of work, inequality, discrimination and lack of social protection.

The state justifies the implementation of austerity measures, having budget cut in various government services like health, food, education and social security. On the other hand, the budget of the state for militarization is gradually increasing year by year.

We must all be reminded that it is not those unemployed youth, informal workers, undocumented migrants, refugees nor the marginalized sectors that bring poverty to a nation, but the neo-liberal policies and programs that government administrations have embraced wholeheartedly.

We call upon all young workers to defend their legitimate rights as embedded in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Let us not be blinded and divided by fear.

Join us to demand together:

-          Stop all kinds of police violence and state repression! Likewise, stop the authoritarian measures that only feed exclusion, discrimination and violence!

-          End the criminalization of undocumented migrants!

-          Start the “real war” of our society on poverty! “Just Work, not Bullets!”

-          Just Work, Equality and Dignified Life for all Young Workers!

The IYCW International Secretariat


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