A Catalyst for Change: Engaging Youth in Transitional Justice

  • Citation: Ladisch, Virginie. “A Catalyst for Change: Engaging Youth in Transitional Justice.” International Centre for Transitional Justice, 2018.
    • Topics:
    • Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding
    • Keywords:
    • youth
    • United Nations
    • transitional justice
    • inclusion
    • civic engagement

Transitional justice efforts aim to catalyze longer-term processes of social and political change that challenge impunity, address the legacies of past abuses, and advance acknowledgment, dignity, and respect for rights. Although youth are key political and social stakeholders who have much to contribute to—and gain from—transitional justice processes, they often remain marginalized from such processes or are given only a limited and predetermined space in which to engage. In recent years, the peacebuilding field, in reflecting on what it means to meaningfully engage youth, has advanced a more nuanced framework that focuses on youth as agents of change. This positive development was further bolstered at the international policy level by the unanimous adoption in December 2015 of Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace, and Security. This resolution addresses how to meaningfully engage youth in peacebuilding, conflict prevention, and transitional justice work by calling for them to be actively engaged in shaping lasting peace and contributing to justice and reconciliation. The SecretaryGeneral welcomed the resolution, noting that it “marks a shift in the way the world seeks to prevent and end violence by acknowledging the positive and constructive roles that youth play in building sustainable peace and preserving international security.” Transitional justice practitioners must shift their thinking as well and develop a more deliberate approach to working with youth and consider them a central component of transitional justice, not a side topic or an afterthought. By reflecting on ICTJ’s work with youth over the past several years, this briefing seeks to advance guiding principles and approaches for meaningfully engaging youth in transitional justice processes.

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