Legacy of the Troubles: The Role of Civil Society in Providing Justice for Victims in Northern Ireland

Written by
Celia C. Sawyerr
May 20, 2022

By Celia C. Sawyerr


The Troubles period in Northern Ireland (1968 to 1998) left victims, their families, and the region with a legacy of trauma that has remained unaddressed for the past 24 years. Despite various legislative proposals to provide victims with forms of recourse, leaders have yet to implement justice provisions detailed in political agreements. As a result of government inaction, victims and survivors have lived without the truth of the past and without the ability to seek criminal charges against perpetrators who inflicted violence against them and/or their loved ones. This paper explores why civil society organizations are the best option to meet victims’ needs in the absence of government intervention.


After the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 formally ended the Troubles, the 30+ year period of political violence and unrest in Northern Ireland, there remained a need to address the fragile power-sharing government and the suffering of victims and survivors. The Stormont House Agreement (the Stormont Agreement) of 2014 aimed to fill this gap by recommending political and economic reform, and by proposing the creation of institutions that would investigate Troubles-related deaths and create a historical archive of events. As of April 2022, the transitional justice components of the Stormont Agreement have yet to be implemented in Northern Ireland. Since the Stormont Agreement’s passage, the British and Irish governments have not prioritized addressing the legacy of the region’s past, and in January 2020, British Prime Minister (PM) Boris Johnson publicly supported limiting inquiries into the actions of British veterans stationed in Northern Ireland during this period (BBC News 2020). While the United Kingdom (UK) continues to stall the process of addressing Northern Ireland’s past through lack of funding and partisan voting, victims and survivors continue to live without the truth of what happened to their loved ones, and perpetrators of violence live free from accountability (Manley 2016). In the absence of government action, what else can be done?

In this paper I argue that in the absence of government intervention, the best way to prioritize the healing processes of Troubles-related victims is to use civil society organizations to uphold the commitments of the Stormont Agreement’s four proposed legacy bodies: the Historical Investigations Unit (HIU), the Independent Commission on Information Retrieval (ICIR), the Oral History Archive (OHA), and the Implementation and Reconciliation Group (IRG). Of the four legacy bodies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are best equipped to lead the collection of oral histories and memorialization efforts. Although the scope of these NGOs may be limited and the preferable way forward would be for the British and Irish governments to implement the agreement, NGOs are well equipped to start the process of addressing victims’ needs that state apparatuses have neglected for eight years.

Transitional Justice Efforts in Northern Ireland

Bombings, assassinations, arbitrary arrests, and internment characterized Northern Ireland’s decades-long conflict between those who supported keeping Northern Ireland a part of the United Kingdom (loyalists/unionists) and those who wanted the region to be incorporated into the state of Ireland (republicans/nationalists). The British army, the local police force, and paramilitary groups such as the loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and the republican Irish Republican Army (IRA) all contributed to the turmoil in the region that culminated in the Good Friday Agreement.

The Good Friday Agreement laid the foundation for the creation of a power-sharing Northern Ireland Assembly between unionist and nationalist parties, introduced an arrangement for cross-border cooperation between the Irish and Northern Irish governments, and supported cooperation between the Irish and British governments (Wallenfeldt, n.d.). However, it did not include provisions for addressing the needs of victims and survivors of the Troubles (Department of Foreign Affairs “The Good Friday Agreement and Today”).

In 2013, during what is known as the Haass talks, Northern Irish political parties attempted to address the legacy of the Troubles on three main issues: investigating Troubles-related deaths, flying sectarian flags, and engaging in sectarian parades. However, they failed to arrive at an agreement, resulting in the collapse of their draft proposals (BBC News 2013). During this period, families of victims had to submit inquiries to the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) and the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI) to learn what happened to their deceased loved ones as these administrative bodies were responsible for investigating victims’ cases. However, due to the decentralized process and accusations of partiality and slow investigations, the HET and the PONI were relieved of their investigative duties in 2014 when the Stormont Agreement was negotiated. This agreement aimed to build a new framework with victims at the forefront.  

The Stormont House Agreement & the Legacy of the Troubles

The creation of the Stormont Agreement was a way to deal with this past in a victim-centered manner and to streamline the process for victims seeking answers. The UK, Ireland, and the Northern Ireland Executive (the administrative branch of Northern Ireland’s legislature) developed the Stormont Agreement at Stormont House, the headquarters of the governmental Northern Ireland Office. The Stormont Agreement’s six main principles are to: (1) promote reconciliation, (2) uphold the rule of law, (3) acknowledge and address the suffering of victims and survivors, (4) facilitate the pursuit of justice and information recovery, (5) be human rights compliant, and (6) be balanced, proportionate, transparent, fair, and equitable (UK Parliament, n.d.). 

Additionally, it proposes the creation of four bodies tasked with investigating Troubles-related deaths, gathering facts, and analyzing themes and patterns to better understand the period:

  1. The Historical Investigations Unit would spearhead inquiries of the HETs outstanding cases and the historical allegations of police misconduct previously handled by PONI (UK Parliament, n.d.). It would also have full policing powers, providing an avenue for family members to pursue criminal investigations against those found responsible for the death of their loved ones (Northern Ireland Office 2014, 7). The UK Government would disclose full information to the HIU when required for the body’s investigations, and the HIU would aim to complete its work within five years (Northern Ireland Office 2018, 8; 2014, 8).
  2. The Independent Commission for Information Retrieval would serve as a fact-finding mechanism to allow victims and survivors to privately seek and receive information on Troubles-related deaths–family members would have to voluntarily approach the ICIR to receive any information with which someone may come forward. Unlike the HIU, the ICIR would not seek to criminally prosecute people, and this feature would allow it to facilitate the sharing of knowledge between grieving families and those with relevant information about these families’ loved ones without fear of repercussion. To preserve its confidentiality, any information provided to the ICIR would be inadmissible in criminal and civil proceedings, and the institution would be given the immunities and privileges of an international body (Northern Ireland Office 2014, 9). The ICIR would run no longer than five years (Northern Ireland Office 2014, 8).
  3. The Oral History Archive would be the central place for anyone touched by the Troubles (victims and survivors, former soldiers, emergency service members, etc.) to share their personal experiences and narratives from that period (Northern Ireland Office 2018, 44). Individuals from the UK and Ireland would be welcome to participate, and victims and survivors would have access to a comprehensive Mental Trauma Service (Northern Ireland Office 2018, 6). This voluntary opportunity would allow individuals to contribute to the OHA’s efforts to create a factual historical timeline of events within one year (Northern Ireland Office 2014, 5).
  4. The Implementation and Reconciliation Group would be responsible for gathering information from the other three legacy bodies in order to identify themes and patterns that would help contextualize and elucidate the Troubles at a macro-level, rather than as individual cases. After five years, academic experts would produce a report analyzing the themes identified by the IRG. Lastly, the IRG would support reconciliation initiatives across Northern Ireland (Queen’s University Belfast “Implementation & Reconciliation Group”).

Government representatives designed the four legacy bodies to address unresolved issues from the Haass Talks, be independent from political interference, and achieve their respective goals in a timely manner. By adhering to these goals, the Stormont Agreement aims to address the legacy of the Troubles both impartially and efficiently. Despite its potential, leaders have failed to execute the Stormont Agreement’s provisions, and as a result, have left victims without any recourse. 

Failures in Implementing the Stormont House Agreement

As of April 2022, the UK and Ireland have yet to create any of the legacy institutions proposed by the Stormont Agreement. Lack of funding and a 2016 UK veto on the release of information from HIU investigations—which officials claimed would “prejudice [UK] national security”—stalled its implementation during the Stormont Agreement’s early years (“Northern Ireland Peace Process…” 2019). In response to the veto, the United Nations issued a strong rebuke of the UK’s attempt to avoid confronting its role in Northern Ireland’s violent past (De Grieff 2016). Additionally, in 2015, the Northern Ireland Executive and the UK and Irish governments agreed on a plan to implement the Stormont Agreement, branded A Fresh Start: the Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan. However, when addressing the legacy aspect of the Stormont Agreement, the proposal states that the three parties were “unable to agree  a [sic] way forward on some of the key issues'' and that the UK and Irish governments would need to reflect on options for a new process that would enable them to arrive at an agreement (Northern Ireland Office 2015, 34–35). The UK has not prioritized the implementation of the legacy provisions of the Stormont Agreement in Northern Ireland, and the government continues to renege on its commitment to its citizens affected by the Troubles. 

In January 2020, after the Northern Ireland Executive resumed political duties after its collapse in 2017, the legacy aspects of the Stormont Agreement were placed back in the spotlight. The current 2020 Stormont Deal, formally known as the New Decade, New Approach plan, promises to address the Stormont Agreement’s legacy provisions by introducing legislation in the UK Parliament within 100 days of the Deal that would implement the legacy bodies (Northern Ireland Office 2020, 48). To date, the UK government has not introduced any such legislation in Parliament addressing Northern Ireland’s Troubles-related issues (Congressional Research Service 2022, 16). On the surface, the restoration of the Northern Ireland Executive and the creation of the Stormont Deal signified steps to support Northern Irish society and Troubles victims and survivors. However, within days of the Stormont Deal, PM Johnson affirmed his intent to prioritize protecting British soldiers from prosecution in cases deemed to have no new evidence of wrongdoing committed during the Troubles (“Boris Johnson: Stormont Deal” 2020). This decision aligned with the pledge Johnson and his Conservative party made in their general election manifesto to stop “vexatious” prosecutions of soldiers who were accused of Troubles-related misconduct (McClements 2020). Then, without much detail, the UK government proposed a new independent body, separate from the HIU, that would conduct “swift final examinations of all unresolved deaths” and would only investigate cases deemed to have “new compelling evidence and a realistic prospect of a prosecution” (McClements 2020). 

In July 2021, the UK government doubled down on its position to introduce legislation prioritizing the well-being of former soldiers, security forces, and paramilitaries. Its policy paper, Addressing the Legacy of Northern Ireland’s Past, proposes a statute of limitations “...to apply equally to all Troubles-related incidents” and recommends an end to all current and future Troubles-related criminal and civil cases (Northern Ireland Office 2021, 9 & 21). Additionally, this proposal supports the creation of a single “Information Recovery Body” that would take the place of the HIU and ICIR and would not have a criminal accountability aspect (Northern Ireland Office 2021, 12). Lastly, the plan proposes a “major oral history initiative” that would include the vital aspects of the IRG legacy body (Northern Ireland Office 2021, 16–17). The main political parties in Northern Ireland, the Irish government, some UK members of Parliament, and many human rights and victims groups have heavily criticized the proposal. They have also expressed concerns about the proposed changes to the legacy bodies, and Nationalists view the ending of prosecutions as a way for the UK government to cover up the latter’s role during the Troubles (Congressional Research Service 2022, 16). The UK government is willing to provide a de facto amnesty to Troubles veterans because it (1) failed to implement the legacy bodies that would have investigated these crimes in a timely manner, and (2) does not want to acknowledge its own role in state-sponsored violence. The prioritization of the Crown’s interests has led to bitter discontent among Northern Irish families who desire to see former soldiers held accountable for their actions (Cafolla 2019).  

TABLE 1: Iterations of the Stormont Agreement 

  What was promised? Delivered?
2014 – Stormont Agreement Four legacy bodies No
2015 – A Fresh Start: the Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan Nothing N/A
January 2020 – New Decade New Approach (Stormont Deal) Implementation legislation within 100 days No
January 2020 – Boris Johnson affirmation of veterans’ rights   Prioritization of veterans

Yes, via the appointment of Northern Ireland’s first Veterans 

Commissioner in August 2020

2021 – Addressing the Legacy of Northern Ireland’s Past
  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Information Recovery Body
  3. Oral history initiative
  1. No
  2. No
  3. No

Lastly, despite domestic and international support for the Stormont Agreement’s implementation, the UK has yet to move forward on any meaningful steps to prioritize the needs of victims and survivors. In January 2021, Nationalist politicians supported the signing of an open letter to PM Johnson by 3,500 relatives of people killed during the Troubles urging him to implement the legacy provisions of the Stormont Agreement (Young 2021). Two months later, 15 U.S. Senators led by Senator Robert Menendez introduced a resolution in Congress reaffirming the full implementation of the Stormont Agreement (Menendez and Collins 2021, 3). Given the continued support for the legacy institutions, prioritizing victims is not only a moral obligation for the UK but also a practical decision that could work towards calming underlying tensions related to the Troubles and the effect of Brexit in the region.

Range of Options to Address the Legacy of Northern Ireland’s Past

The UK government has a range of options from which to choose to address the needs of Troubles-related victims. These include continuing the current approach, inviting international involvement, or bringing in domestic civil society.

1) Maintain the Status Quo

The UK government can continue to postpone the creation of the legacy bodies promised in the Stormont Agreement, and continue to affirm its intentions to address Northern Ireland’s past without proposing any actual legislation in Parliament. Given general resentment levels across Northern Ireland among victims and survivors who are still seeking answers about Troubles-related injuries and deaths, maintaining the status quo is an unacceptable option. Further, the longer the status quo continues, the higher the probability that resentment among affected groups could grow.

2) International Intervention via a Hybrid Court

A hybrid court that integrates international and domestic judges and legal rules, could address Northern Ireland’s past by exposing the facts of Troubles-related violence and prosecuting its perpetrators (Vinjamuri and Snyder 2015). Implementing a hybrid court would apply third-party, independent pressure on the UK government to address the past while simultaneously respecting local norms without infringing on state sovereignty. It would also fulfill some components of the HIU and ICIR. 
The UK Parliament would likely oppose the formation of a hybrid court given its desire to handle its own affairs and the court having the power to criminally prosecute Troubles-related veterans. Additionally, given a domestic government’s ability to limit the scope of a hybrid court and the latter’s mixed success in the past, this option could fall short of providing results unconstrained by politics.

3) Devolve Responsibility from UK government to Northern Irish Civil Society

NGOs spearheading community-based approaches to provide victims with facts about the past would not only provide culturally-sensitive methods, but would also be independent from government interference. Working closely with affected communities would also foster trust and honest communication between NGOs and victims leading to durable results. Additionally, since NGOs already serve communities in specialized ways, they are well positioned to take on one or more functions of the legacy bodies in a timely fashion. 

NGOs have stepped in to meet the needs of their communities before. For example, after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, the local government lacked the capacity to address the needs of communities and the federal government delayed its response. NGOs like Casa Pueblo in Adjuntas, Puerto Rico relied on its sustainable energy model to provide the community with power while the town lacked access to the electrical grid. According to Executive Director Alexis Massol González, Casa Pueblo’s solar-powered grid allowed people to continue their dialysis treatments, store food, and charge electronics such as phones (Alexis Massol González, in-person presentation at Casa Pueblo, March 3, 2022). Casa Pueblo’s ability to lean into its strength and fulfill the government’s role illustrates how Northern Irish NGOs could act in similar ways regarding legacy body functions.  

The main drawbacks to this option are capacity and funding constraints that commonly plague NGOs and could ultimately hinder their ability to implement various aspects of the legacy bodies. Despite these factors, this is still the best option due to NGOs’ proximity to communities, and their ability to start filling these gaps given their existing work in their expertise areas.

Role of Civil Society

In the absence of governments fulfilling their commitments to victims and survivors, civil society organizations can spearhead efforts to accomplish the objectives of each of the dormant legacy bodies proposed by the Stormont Agreement. Although their scope may be limited due to being non-state actors with less political and legal leverage than government agencies, their ability to be politically independent and their proximity to the community would contribute to truth and reconciliation efforts in a different and effective way. 

In the absence of governments fulfilling their commitments to victims and survivors, civil society organizations can spearhead efforts to accomplish the objectives of each of the dormant legacy bodies proposed by the Stormont Agreement.

For example, Relatives for Justice (RfJ) is a Northern Irish NGO providing survivors and relatives of victims with legal and therapeutic support while they seek justice for themselves and/or their loved ones. RfJ has supported clients in navigating the legal and investigative processes in various ways. Some include: documenting and analyzing information related to incidents, developing strategic litigation, referring families to qualified lawyers, and accompanying families at trials and hearings (Relatives for Justice “Background…”). RfJ also informs the international community of the difficulties of holding the UK government and its agencies accountable for the deaths it has caused or facilitated (Relatives for Justice “Background…”). Additionally, the “Victims & Dealing with the Past” research project sponsored by Queen’s University Belfast aims to explore victimhood in Northern Ireland by examining the themes of voice, agency, and blame (Queen’s University Belfast “About the Project”). Through reports, articles, and storytelling, the project aims to assist victim organizations and policymakers in Northern Ireland (Queen’s University Belfast “Outputs”). These two NGOs are examples of the work civil society is already doing to support victims and survivors at  local and policy levels. Given their ability to investigate incidents, research trends, and advocate for victims, NGOs are well suited to start the process of fulfilling some of the objectives of the legacy bodies.

Summer of 69
Mural memorializing the Troubles. Image Source: cactusbones, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

As previously mentioned, there are benefits and drawbacks of having civil society organizations take on the role of implementing the tasks of the Stormont Agreement’s legacy bodies. Generally, their independence from the government allows them to be less encumbered by politics and red tape, they can reach forgotten portions of the population, and they are more in tune with their communities’ wants and desires as compared to large bureaucratic government agencies. However, NGOs are often underfunded and understaffed, hindering their ability to complete their own mission-oriented projects in a timely manner. They may also be unwilling to work with one another if their organizational missions conflict. Additionally, there is a concern that having NGOs take on the role of a government unwilling to fulfill its commitments would remove any incentive for the UK to address the legacy of the Troubles and its role in it. Despite these drawbacks, having NGOs lean into their specialties to start implementing aspects of the Stormont Agreement’s proposed legacy institutions could demonstrate to victims and survivors that their experiences, trauma, and pain are not insignificant. 

Historical Investigations Unit

Existing NGOs have the skills to fulfill only part of the role of the HIU, and they face legislative and capacity constraints. As illustrated through RfJ, some advocacy NGOs have the ability to investigate various Troubles-related incidents and could take on the HIU’s work of investigating deaths in a victim-centered way. In part 33 of the Stormont Agreement, the HIU provides dedicated staff to support families throughout the investigative process (Northern Ireland Office 2014, 7). RfJ has experience supporting families on all sides of the conflict, and its holistic approach to advocacy already includes therapeutic care for families when they engage with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) about their loved ones’ cases. Additionally, RfJ has shown itself capable of consulting with relevant partners, such as lawyers, after conducting their investigations, and of carrying out its work free from political bias (Northern Ireland Office 2014, 6–7). 

The main challenges associated with NGOs doing the proposed work of the HIU are NGOs’ limitations in pursuing criminal investigations and in their capacity to handle thousands of cases. Currently, the proposed HIU would have full policing powers granted by the UK government, as well as powers equivalent to those of the PONI. Further, it would have a sizable staff able to examine thousands of outstanding cases involving interviews, evidence review, and procurement of any new evidence. In the case of RfJ, only 11 staff members organize and run the various services of the organization (Relatives for Justice “Our Staff”). If RfJ and similar NGOs were to take on the caseload of the HIU, they would need funding to hire more staff and to rent or buy a space large enough to house these new employees. NGOs’ status as non-state actors and their lack of resources would make it difficult to handle the HIU’s proposed caseload without generous outside funding. However, starting to tackle the backload of cases at the HET would be an enormous step in helping victims and survivors begin to heal. 

Independent Commission for Information Retrieval

Civil society organizations are able to gather sensitive information from Troubles-affected communities, but may face partisan-driven and criminal immunity roadblocks. The trust built between local civil society organizations and the communities they have been serving could make people with sensitive information about Troubles-related deaths more comfortable sharing this information with NGOs than with an agency linked to the government. In Parts 46 and 47, the Stormont Agreement states that the ICIR “ …will not disclose information provided to it to law enforcement or intelligence agencies” and that it would “not be subject to judicial review” (Northern Ireland Office 2014, 9). These legal provisions indicate the potential apprehension people may have with sharing information that could incriminate them. Allowing NGOs trusted by communities to do similar work to that of the ICIR could result in more people coming forward with vital information that could help survivors and victims’ families. Similar to Queen’s University Belfast’s research project, organizations focused on victim-centered research with the experience to handle personal narratives could start to tackle the work of the ICIR.

Unlike the ICIR, local NGOs may only attract people from specific sides of the conflict depending on the mission of the organization. This could be an advantage and draw more people to come forward as witnesses could feel more comfortable sharing information with NGOs that share their viewpoint. NGOs would then need to work together across sectarian lines to match stories with affected families. Creating an NGO coalition that includes partisan organizations could prove difficult, and could be exacerbated by legal immunity restrictions. Local organizations are not granted the immunity and privileges of an international body and may be required by law to report community members to the government depending on what people share with NGO staff. One way to avoid criminal investigation would be for NGOs to collect relevant information anonymously in a secured fashion, such as through an encrypted portal. However, this could lead to verification concerns. Despite these challenges, local civil society organizations could achieve the objectives of the ICIR, albeit in a limited way.

Oral History Archive

Existing organizations could spearhead the effort to capture the historical record of this period, although they may not have the funds for an extensive review. Just as NGOs could achieve the objectives of the ICIR, they could also gather narratives more easily than a government-adjacent body due to their proximity to and rapport with victims and survivors. NGOs could then use this information to create the OHA’s deliverable of a factual historical timeline of events. Additionally, to ensure diverse perspectives are included in the Archive, NGOs could reach people who may face logistical barriers to traveling to the OHA’s headquarters. For example, if there are survivors who are elderly or who have suffered injuries inhibiting their ability to travel, NGOs may be more equipped to meet and be welcomed by people in their homes. Unfortunately, local organizations could also run into the same issues as those doing the work of the ICIR: community members sharing with partisan NGOs, disjointed information gathering needing to be streamlined through an NGO coalition, and witnesses lacking legal protection from sharing incriminating information. Regardless of these potential issues, NGOs’ ability to liaise directly with their communities would make them well-suited to contribute to the historical record of this period.

The Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala is an example of an NGO contributing to the historical record after conflict through science and survivor testimony. Its mission is to “accompany families in the search for truth, justice, and recovery of the remains of their loved ones,” and has been doing so since 1997, one year after the end of Guatemala’s 36-year civil war (Fundación…“About Us”). The Foundation has worked to uncover the remains, and ultimately the truth of what happened to the more than 200,000 people who were killed or forcibly disappeared during the conflict (International Commission on Missing Persons “Accountability…”). It has also implemented a Visual History Archive to collect testimonies with the goal of fostering reconciliation, strengthening its forensic research, and promoting educational programs in Guatemala and globally (Fundación… 2020, 27). The Foundation’s highly respected status among communities searching for answers has created trust between them and has led to survivors, victims’ families, and other relevant parties to share their personal accounts from the conflict. NGOs’ close relationships with communities promote the sharing of personal experiences for the benefit of understanding the past.

Implementation and Reconciliation Group

Lastly, non-partisan NGOs could take on the IRG’s monitoring functions by reviewing the progress made by other local organizations in implementing legacy body tasks, and by creating a report consolidating the themes and patterns that emerge from their work. A social sciences research-focused organization, such as Ipsos Mori Northern Ireland, might be best suited for this role given the need to create a report tying together the findings from a wide range of civil society organizations. An independent research organization would have the expertise and qualified personnel to develop an in-depth analysis of the overarching themes that could come out of the work completed by NGOs across Northern Ireland. 

However, a research organization that would take on this project may not have the capacity to support other initiatives that contribute to reconciliation and reducing sectarianism as described by the Stormont Agreement in part 52 (Northern Ireland Office 2014, 10). As it would be taking on this role in addition to the work in which it already engages, an organization may only be able to partially fulfill the objectives of the IRG.


In short, in the absence of government intervention to address the legacy of the Troubles in Northern Ireland today, civil society organizations have the knowledge and experience to make an impact. They can do so by implementing aspects of the Stormont Agreement’s legacy bodies since maintaining the status quo or relying on international actors to pressure the UK government does not provide the best benefits to victims and their families.

Ideally, the UK government would implement the Stormont Agreement as it committed to doing multiple times, but in its absence, civil society organizations can work to ensure peacebuilding and transitional justice measures are not neglected.

Various factors may limit how much NGOs can accomplish, but their efforts could be the first steps to prioritizing the healing processes of victims’ and survivors. Of the four bodies, civil society is best equipped to start tackling the memorialization process through implementing the initiatives of the Oral History Archive. NGOs’ positionality with communities and the trust developed over time makes it more likely for victims and survivors to be honest and forthcoming with their experiences. Ideally, the UK government would implement the Stormont Agreement as it committed to doing multiple times, but in its absence, civil society organizations can work to ensure peacebuilding and transitional justice measures are not neglected.

*This article was edited by Allison Blauvelt (Princeton University), Shaheed Soligné (Penn State University), and Lea Hunter (Princeton University).

About the Author

Celia Sawyerr is a recent alumna of the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy where she earned a Master’s of Public Policy (MPP) degree. She is committed to using data to positively impact marginalized communities, and while a student, she studied data analysis methods and international policy as it related to migrant integration, the rule of law, and transitional justice. Celia has a background in higher education and international education development, and earned a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.

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