Conflict & Legacy

Bridge of Hope supports victims and survivors and their families to engage in legacy issues through delivery of conflict legacy programmes including Ulster University accredited Toolkit programmes.

This work is much needed at grassroots level where conflict-deaths and disruption was highest. The impact of the conflict in Belfast was extremely high with 42% of all fatalities taking place in the city. Disruption on an individual and communal scale was extensive considering the level of deaths, injuries, house arrests, interface violence, internment, bombings and raids. The job of addressing these layers remains and therefore an appetite for dealing with the past is high. Initiated by Bridge of Hope back in 2011 the Transitional Justice Grassroots Toolkit Programme worked with Mount Vernon, Tigers Bay and New Lodge and was highly successful. It is now a partnership with the Transitional Justice Institute and in the Spring of 2017 materials in Arabic and Spanish will be launched. The programme and its Trainer’s Manual is endorsed by Paul Seils, Vice President of the International Centre of Transitional Justice (ICTJ) in New York and also Victims & Survivors Service Chief Executive Margaret Bateson. It is also supported by SF and DUP Junior Ministers. As a case study the Toolkit partnership work helped Ulster University gain a first class ranking in the Research Excellence Framework for impact. It has been described by victims and survivors as an ‘enabler’ of critical and necessary conversations about dealing with the past. Here are a few comments from participants:

  • Realising the wealth of knowledge that came from the group. We learned so much about what transitional justice means across the world, particularly the North of Ireland. I learned and appreciated the shared experiences.
  • It has enabled me to have open and critical conversations about transition and justice in North Belfast. This programme brought people from all walks of life together and gave a great wide and open view of what and how the conflict affected them.

Over the last deacde and more substantial pieces of research, cross community confidence building and dialogue sessions have been channelled through Bridge of Hope and its conflict legacy programmes which, with the help of participants, have undoubtedly helped steer wider society onto a path of greater awareness, reconciliation and healing. Click on the links below for more details about some of this work:

Conflict and Legacy
University of Ulster Transitional Justice Institute