A Catalyst for Change: Engaging Youth in Transitional Justice

4/23/2018

Virginie Ladisch

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 Secretary-General 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.

Date published: 
4/23/2018