Young People of the Peace ProcessNorthern Ireland Youth Forum
NIYF Report on Young People’s views on NI Centenary, Identity & Social Issues
NIYF launch new report entitled ‘ Young People of the Peace Process’ following survey of almost 400 young people across Northern Ireland.
This programme emerged from young people expressing their wishes to be included in conversations about ‘legacy issues’, the past and the future. This work was designed and delivered by a youth steering group of young people aged 16-18. Through this piece of work the group involved hoped to hear from young people across Northern Ireland and different communities within it to better understand their views and opinions on issues about the past and future. It was important to the group that this research strived to promote the voice of young people in line with Article 12 of the UNCRC and promote this with decision makers and people in power.
“States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child”Article 12, UNCRC
From the research it is clear that young people want to be included in the conversation around identity, centenary and legacy issues. The young people who participated in the survey showed a range of views but what was most substantial was that young people want to be involved in this important dialogue that impacts their daily life.
Some significant findings are:
- The survey revealed that 62% of young people ‘agreed and strongly agreed’ with the view that politicians did not value their views and/or opinions.
- A majority of those who completed the survey stated that an individual’s religious background had no impact (82%) on how they would feel about them.
- The overwhelming majority of respondents (71%) ‘agreed and strongly agreed’ with the position that young people should be allowed to vote at sixteen and a further 87% ‘agreed and strongly agreed’ with the statement that young people can affect change by getting involved in campaigns and activism.
- When asked ‘What society should do about the Northern Ireland centenary?’ – the majority of respondents (44%) selected to ‘Acknowledge it’ followed by 33% saying it to ‘Celebrate it’, 16% said to ‘Ignore it’ and both ‘Protest against it’ and ‘Don’t know’ selected by just 11%.
- The survey also asked around the likelihood of a border poll in the next twenty years with 71% selecting either ‘Very likely’ or ‘Quite likely’.
Young people then expressed some concerns and hopes they have for the future, particularly in relation to seeing Northern Ireland move forward to create a more positive and inclusive society for all.