The student-led movement to end mass atrocities.

STAND Celebrates the Introduction of the Youth, Peace and Security Act of 2020

H.R.6174 Is A Vital Step in Youth Peacebuilding

March 10, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the bipartisan Youth, Peace and Security Act of 2020 (YPS Act), H.R. 6174, was introduced by Representatives Grace Meng (D-NY), Susan Brooks (R-IN), Dean Phillips (D-MN) and John Curtis (R-UT) in the U.S. House of Representatives, constituting an historic step in support of youth empowerment and peacebuilding in U.S. foreign policy. The Managing Committee of STAND: The Student-Led Movement to End Mass Atrocities, along with partners the Alliance for Peacebuilding, Search for Common Ground, UNOY Peacebuilders, Peace Direct, FCNL, and Generations for Peace, commends these Representatives for their hard work and leadership in bringing this legislation forth. 

For the last 15 years, STAND has been empowering youth to advocate for a global community invested in preventing, mitigating, and resolving genocide and mass atrocities wherever they may occur. The key to creating sustainable change around the world is to empower youth with the resources and platforms they need to promote peace and justice within their communities, as the leaders of today and tomorrow. STAND is not alone. In 2015, 10,000 young peacebuilders participated in the first-ever Global Forum on Youth, Peace, and Security. As a result of this forum, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace, and Security (YPS).

STAND’s Student Director, Grace Fernandes, said, “As youth activists ourselves, we are thrilled by the introduction of the Youth, Peace and Security Act. We understand the unique power of youth organizing and the immense need to center youth voices globally. After the recent passage of both the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act and the Global Fragility Act, I could not be more excited to move forward in support of the Youth, Peace, and Security Act and urge Congress to take this next essential step in the pursuit of a world free of atrocities.”

STAND is especially encouraged by the measures in the bill to increase access to funding for youth peacebuilding groups and international YPS efforts, to ensure a youth voice in formulation of U.S. foreign policy, and to collect age-disaggregated data on conflict issues. These policies will be instrumental in shaping, training, and mobilizing the world’s youth toward a world with less conflict.

We look forward to working with Congress to vote YES on YPS. 

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About STAND: The Student-Led Movement to End Mass Atrocities

Born out of the fight to stop the genocide in Darfur, Sudan, STAND is devoted to creating a sustainable student network that actively fights genocide and mass atrocities wherever they may occur. . STAND is led by a Student Director, chosen annually, and a Managing Committee comprised of college and high school students across the United States and is the only student-led organization focused on genocide and atrocity prevention. STAND is affiliated with the Aegis Trust, a UK-based nonprofit. For more information or to get involved, visit standnow.org or contact info@standnow.org.

 

For more information on the YPS Act, see:

2019-2020 STAND Managing Committee Statement Opposing the Latest Travel Ban

STAND, the student and youth-led movement to end mass atrocities, opposes the latest iteration of the Trump Administration’s travel ban released on January 31st, 2020. This expanded version of the travel ban includes six new countries, bringing up the total number to 13 countries restricted by the ban. Beginning on February 22nd, this ban prevents individuals from Nigeria, Myanmar, Eritrea, and Kyrgyzstan from obtaining immigrant visas. It also prohibits individuals from Sudan and Tanzania from being granted green cards through the diversity visa lottery.

This expanded travel ban perpetuates religious discrimination exhibited by previous iterations of the ban. Of the six newly added countries, all have “substantial” Muslim populations and three have Muslim-majority populations. In addition to the religious bias, the newest edition of the ban particularly focuses on African nations. Notably, the son of Eritrean refugees, U.S. Representative Joe Neguse, stated that the ban “unfairly singled out allied African nations”.

Two of STAND’s priority conflict areas, Burma (Myanmar) and Sudan have been included in this iteration. The New York Times highlights the particular importance of relocation for individuals from Burma with the intention to seek safety or reunite with their families. While it would be appropriate for the United States to impose additional financial sanctions on members of the Burmese government in response to the ongoing human rights violations against ethnic minorities within the country, STAND opposes the restriction of Burmese civilians in pursuit of a visa. 

It is additionally of note that, following the removal of former president Omar al-Bashir, the new transitional government in Sudan has been working toward normalizing its relationship with the United States.This restriction on Sudan, as the transitional government moves toward a civilian-led government, marks a step backward in terms of necessary U.S. support for the people of Sudan. 

While this ban does not apply to those seeking refugee status, the Trump Administration has already lowered refugee intake to an all-time low of 18,000 individuals for Fiscal Year 2020. This limitation in tandem with the newest restrictions marks the further abandonment of U.S. responsibilities to welcome those fleeing persecution regardless of their religion or nation of origin. 

As an organization dedicated to ending genocide and mass atrocities, STAND has opposed previous versions of the Administration’s travel ban. STAND’s 2017-2018 Managing Committee made a statement against the ban saying, “We will never allow such discrimination and hatred to be directed at any religious group in our country—or anywhere in the world”. In 2020, we reaffirm this commitment and stand resolutely with individuals and nations affected by this ban. As ever, we will continue to speak out against discriminatory policies, reflect on the lessons offered to us by history, and denounce practices of scapegoating and prejudice. 

For more information, or to get involved with STAND’s advocacy efforts, please contact info@standnow.org