Northern Ireland amnesty?

Article published today by Professor Hamber in the Belfast Telegraph on the British Government’s proposal for an amnesty for all conflict-related offences.

“Amnesty a line in the sand? It’s not even close”

If we know anything about the Johnson government in the UK, they are not great at sticking to agreements or taking the views of the devolved nations seriously. The recent statement by the Secretary of State, Brandon Lewis, proposing new legislation to enforce a statute of limitations for all conflict-related violations in Northern Ireland fits this mould.

In July 2019, following a 15-month consultation on the legacy proposal in the Stormont House Agreement (SHA) of 2014 agreed by all political parties, the British Government committed to its full implementation. Two years later, it is now proposing to pull the SHA apart.

“The Troubles,Belfast, Northern Ireland 1970–2 Coldstream Guards” by Kaspar C at  CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The recent proposals remove a focus on justice and investigation, favouring information recovery and storytelling under an undefined banner of reconciliation. All of Northern Ireland’s five main political parties, the Irish government, civil society organisations and most victims’ groups are heavily critical of what amounts to an amnesty for conflict-era offences. Yet, the views of the people of Northern Ireland, and especially victims of both state and non-state violence, seem to matter little.

Read more https://brandonhamber.medium.com/759595928619

Seminar UN Envoy on Youth

The Chair facilitated a session on Thursday 20 May 2021, with the UN Secretary Generals’ Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake. In her talk the UN Envoy on Youth discussed UN priorities and issues concerning youth, peace and security.

This dialogue was part of the new seminar series entitled Youth, Peace and Security Leadership Series. The seminar series explores the positive contribution of youth to peace. Every 6-8 weeks, an online platform will be created for young leaders to share their experience from around the world.

The seminar series is a partnership between Ulster University (INCORE & TJI), The John and Pat Hume Foundation, John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace, International Fund for Ireland (IFI), the Centre for Youth Research and Dialogue and Interpeace.

To review all posts about the series, click Categories, Events and “Youth Leadership Series” on right side bar.

UN Youth Envoy & Young Leaders

On Thursday 20 May 2021, the UN Secretary Generals’ Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake, held a unique meeting with 20 young people from across 10 local and regional organisations in Northern Ireland and the border regions.

Jayathma Wickramanayake

This was part of the new seminar series entitled Youth, Peace and Security Leadership Series.

In preparation for a public dialogue with the UN Secretary Generals’ Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake, 10 youth organisations were consulted and detailed discussions took place. Here Elizabeth McArdle of Ulster University and Youth Pact who led the webinar with the Chair, captures the spirit of what was discussed and shares two padlets reflecting content put forward by the youth groups who took part. 

Young People as contributors to peace

Padlet. To view the details click this link.

Resolution 2250 recognises the contribution that young people make to peace and security locally and globally. Young leaders explained the work and roles they undertake to build grassroots communities and peace-building initiatives locally; from community gardens, to podcasts on mental health; from drumming workshops to recording My Story; from lobbying and campaigning to civic action and marches. 

To see the work and actions of this group of young leaders, click this link.

Young participants spoke about the building of tolerance within our society; with competing identities that need to find space to exist. Where tolerance is lacking, then violence spills over.  However, tolerance was viewed as a pitstop on the journey, with real acceptance and connection with other different people and cultures being part of a lasting peace.  

Issues of education were fore-fronted with the educational under-achievement of Protestant young people highlighted and access issues for young people with disabilities adding to issues of systemic inequality.  For these, young people called for greater engagement with the formal education structures and local politicians. 

Mental Health

This is a serious presenting issue, for the UN youth Envoy and for the young people locally.  Links were made between young people living in poverty and under pressures, and their experiences of mental health.  The pressures on young people and their access to mental health services has been exacerbated due to Covid-19.  Immediate investment is needed by governments to address these issues and give young people the support to recover from the educational and social isolation of the past year.  

Padlet. To see the details click here.

This is a snapshot of the discussion with the young people on 20th May 2021; with further discussions of the gendered nature of peace-building and conflict; the daily actions of bread-and-butter peace-building and the ‘silent pandemic of mental health’.  

To see more of the young people’s concerns, passions and actions, click here.

Youth, Peace & Security Leadership Series

This dialogue was part of the new seminar series entitled Youth, Peace and Security Leadership Series. The seminar series explores the positive contribution of youth to peace. Every 6-8 weeks, an online platform will be created for young leaders to share their experience from around the world.

The seminar series is a partnership between Ulster University (INCORE & TJI), The John and Pat Hume Foundation, John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace, International Fund for Ireland (IFI), the Centre for Youth Research and Dialogue and Interpeace.

To review all posts about the series, click Categories, Events and “Youth Leadership Series” on right side bar.

‘New normal’ is abnormal

Professor Brandon Hamber, Hume O’Neill Chair, has published a new piece in Belfast Telegraph.

In my work dealing with the impact of political violence, a constant challenge is reminding people that when addressing survivors’ needs during times of conflict, it is the social context that is often the primary stressor. For example, as much as therapy for victims of conflict is useful, its value is limited if the conflict’s legacy persists and the social environment is destroyed.

You also cannot think about conflict without understanding that it has differential impacts. In Northern Ireland, for example, the neighbourhoods with the highest conflict death rate are those with the highest levels of poverty. When it comes to addressing the mental health impact of Covid-19, it seems we have a similar situation. We are acting as if the pandemic is only a medical problem, a behavioural issue (wear your mask, wash your hands, socially distance) and finally, a psychological question of coping mentally.

Continue reading on Medium, link.

“Coronavirus – baby and mom” by https://www.vperemen.com is licensed under CC BY 2.0

St Patrick’s Symposium

At the invitation of the John Hewitt Society, the Chair, Professor Brandon Hamber, was asked to speak at the St Patrick’s Symposium on 15 March 2021. The Symposium focused on the topic of Reminiscence.

The event “At Home with St. Patrick” in Armagh differed from other St. Patrick’s festivals by examining and celebrating who St. Patrick was, his values, his life and his legacy. This holistic approach aimed to offer insights that can reflect on life in the contemporary world.

Drawing on this broad idea, the Chair’s lecture focused on the topic of “Nostalgia, Conflict and Dreaming of Never Again”. The lecture explored the complicated process of remembering conflict, and the tension between solidarity and relationship building within communities (which can be remembered nostalgically) and the horrors of the political conflict itself.

Youth, Peace and Security Series

The Chair is delighted to be help organise and launch the new Youth, Peace and Security Leadership Series. The seminar series will explore the positive contribution of youth to peace. Every 6-8 weeks, an online platform will be created for young leaders to share their experience from around the world.

The seminar series is a partnership between Ulster University (INCORE & TJI), The John and Pat Hume Foundation, John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace, International Fund for Ireland (IFI), and Interpeace.

Youth, Peace and Security Leadership Launch

The Youth, Peace and Security Leadership Series will be launched on 8 March 2021 with “The Missing Peace”, championing young people as positive contributors to peace, register here.

By way of background, 0n 9 December 2015, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted Resolution 2250. The resolution is an important landmark for recognising the positive role young people can play in conflict and post-conflict settings. The UN Secretary-General commissioned Graeme Simpson to carry out a global study on youth and peacebuilding mandated by UNSCR 2250. The study was presented to the Security Council in April 2018 and to the UN General Assembly in September 2018. A key message of this report, and subsequent work, is to recognise and support young people as positive contributors to peace, moving away from a deficit model that sees young people as a threat to security.

Launch Programme

To launch the series Graeme Simpson will share his experience from working not the report and subsequent processes. Speakers will include:

  • Graeme Simpson, Lead Author UN Independent Youth, Peace and Security Progress Study: “The Missing Peace”
  • Professor Mo Hume, Professor of Latin American Politics, University of Glasgow
  • Paddy Harte, Chairman, International Fund for Ireland
  • Chair: Professor Brandon Hamber, John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace at Ulster University

Register

RSVP essential to receive the live stream link which will be sent 48 hours before the seminar, so please register here.

Graeme Simpson is the Principal Representative (NY) & Senior Peacebuilding Adviser, Interpeace, a global peacebuilding organization working in 20 conflict and immediate post-conflict zones around the world. He was appointed by the UN Secretary-General as the Lead Author of the Independent Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security: The Missing Peace. He is also an Adjunct Lecturer in Law at Columbia University School of Law in New York City, where he teaches a seminar on transitional justice and peacebuilding. Graeme has an LLB and a master’s in History from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He was co-founder and Executive Director (1995-2005) of the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) in Johannesburg, SA.

Youth, Peace & Security Leadership Series

This dialogue was part of the new seminar series entitled Youth, Peace and Security Leadership Series. The seminar series explores the positive contribution of youth to peace. Every 6-8 weeks, an online platform will be created for young leaders to share their experience from around the world.

The seminar series is a partnership between Ulster University (INCORE & TJI), The John and Pat Hume Foundation, John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace, International Fund for Ireland (IFI), the Centre for Youth Research and Dialogue and Interpeace.

To review all posts about the series, click Categories, Events and “Youth Leadership Series” on right side bar.

CAIN live archive

Ulster University has confirmed that its highly regarded CAIN archive will be retained as a live and curated archive, made possible by support from Initiatives of Change. The funding follows a consultation in 2019 and comprehensive efforts by the University and the CAIN team to secure the long-term future of the archive. The funding will directly support a significant modernisation of the site, including the introduction of cutting-edge archival content management systems not available when the CAIN site was first pioneering online archives, over two decades ago. The University is also making funds available to invest in the technology that will enhance the experience for all those who use the popular platform.

Read more here.

Photo by Eamon Melaugh