The student-led movement to end mass atrocities.

STAND Statement on September 2020 Global Fragility Act Report

In lieu of the comprehensive Global Fragility Strategy (GFS) as required by law, the Administration submitted a report to Congress late Tuesday evening outlining the forthcoming GFS. Though the report includes important considerations for implementing the Global Fragility Act (GFA), it falls short of the requirements mandated by Section 504(c) of the Act. The report’s shortcomings threaten to delay actual implementation of the GFA, despite a greater need for a more innovative foreign policy than ever as levels of global violence continue rising while COVID-19 exacerbates root causes of conflict.

STAND: the student-led movement to end mass atrocities, ran a virtual campaign this summer in support of robust GFA implementation, in partnership with Mercy Corps. We decided to focus on certain priorities for the Administration to include in the GFS, detailed in our Op-Ed Writing Guide, and based on extensive research by other organizations in the Global Fragility Act coalition. In the released report, the Administration noted four foci to be detailed in the strategy. However, when constructing the comprehensive GFS to meet their legal requirement, the Administration must be sure to:

  • Emphasize the inclusion of and support for local, youth-led peacebuilding organizations. The GFA was created in order to address the roots of conflict, and Congress emphasized in the text that this would be possible through local leadership. In the GFS, the Administration must come up with a holistic plan that integrates and elevates local organizations at every step, from programmatic design to evaluation. Further, a comprehensive strategy should detail how any plan to identify, partner with, and include local organizations in diplomatic and political efforts will include and center youth-led groups.
  • Select priority countries or regions based on relevant data and potential for U.S. action. This step is imperative for the GFA to be implemented. Without a list of priority regions and countries for GFA implementation, developing multiple 10-year strategies for each by the December 19, 2020 deadline may be delayed. Consistent with the indicators and data sources identified in Section 505 of the GFA and data-driven approaches developed by civil society leaders, priority regions and countries must be selected as soon as possible. By using data and evidence for impactful U.S. action, the GFA will be able to make the broadest impact on global levels of violence and fragility. 
  • Address long-term causes of fragility and violence while adapting short-term programming reform that will allow for flexibility. The necessity for improved adaptability in both policy and programming was made clear in Section 510(a)(1) of the GFA. The Administration must explain how it intends to reform programs to be able to adapt to the changing dynamics characteristic of conflict-affected and fragile environments in order to address long-term causes. Among these should include implementation of more flexible procurement mechanisms (see Recommendation 11 of “Getting from Here to There” by Alliance for Peacebuilding and the One Earth Foundation).
  • Take a conflict-sensitive, multisectoral approach. A conflict sensitive and multisectoral approach to crafting the 10-year context-specific strategies will be crucial for the GFA to fulfill its goal of addressing the underlying causes of violence. To this extent, the GFS should explain how conflict prevention and peacebuilding can be integrated at any stage of policy formulation and development programming. .
  • Detail interagency cooperation with an emphasis on learning. None of the above points will be possible unless the GFS truly describes the whole-of-government approach for implementation of the GFA. Right now, bureaucracy hinders interagency cooperation and detracts from collaboration across sectors. The GFS must explain how various agencies and government leaders will work together and make decisions to further the diplomatic and programmatic efforts necessary to make the goals of the GFA possible.

Elements of these recommendations appear as “objectives” in the summary report; however, a concrete plan to address them remains to be formulated. With nearly 80 million people currently fleeing conflict and persecution amidst a pandemic exacerbating already rising levels of violence, the whole-of-government, preventive approach possible through the GFA is imperative to U.S. foreign policy. We urge the Administration to uphold their legal requirement and release a comprehensive strategy swiftly to ensure this historic piece of legislation can be properly implemented. 


STAND’s Managing Committee is STAND’s central decision-making body, and works to ensure that students have the resources to effectively organize their campuses and communities. Thank you to Megan Smith and members of the GFA summer campaign team for contributing to this statement.

STANDing with George Floyd and Against Police Brutality

20-21 Managing Committee Statement


STAND, the student and youth-led movement to end mass atrocities, stands in solidarity and mourning with peaceful protesters in light of tragic events surrounding the police killing of George Floyd. As a movement with a mission to organize and empower a grassroots network of youth committed to advocacy against mass atrocities, we feel a responsibility to speak out against the injustice, racism, and white supremacy rooted in our society.  STAND joins millions of protestors in denouncing racial prejudice and police brutality in the United States.  We are committed to acknowledging the discrimination and persecution individuals face both domestically and internationally. 

Every successful social movement in history has included a passionate student voice; this movement is no exception. STAND supports and encourages youth organizations and individuals to speak up for their beliefs through peaceful, nonviolent actions. We stand with those directly impacted by injustice and work to amplify the voices demanding change. As the United States moves forward in resolving the violence and conflict that has emerged nationwide, young peacebuilders are needed now more than ever. 

STAND grieves with the nation and sends our deepest condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones of George Floyd, as well as every individual affected by racial violence.  While we feel frustration and heartbreak in these events, we believe in the strength of youth activism and we are hopeful for peace.  

We encourage and empower youth voices to advocate for overcoming systems of oppression and violence. Daisaku Ikeda once said, “Let us join our efforts toward building unshakable foundations for a culture of peace.”  

As the world is rapidly changing and new challenges constantly emerge, the future is in the hands of the youth to find solutions to systemic problems. The road to transformation and change is not an easy one but is a necessary one. To create change, we must educate ourselves and others and brainstorm ways to peacefully enact action. We recognize the need for change to prevent violence and acknowledge the impacts of institutionalized racism and oppression. 

For information and guidance on how young voices can get involved, STAND ‘s Terre Haute South Vigo High School chapter has created a guide to activism and advocacy during this time. The United States Institute of Peace has assembled a list of resources in their Synergizing Nonviolent Action and Peacebuilding  (SNAP) Guide to promote peaceful activism and advocacy. 

For direct involvement on issues of police and racial violence, find a local organization or peacebuilding group.

As ever, STAND will continue to speak out against hatred, encourage youth activists to mobilize, and stand in solidarity with those who have been affected by racialized violence. 

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