‘The Institute for Conflict Research’ is an independent research organisation based in Northern Ireland that undertakes research on a variety of topics, including violence, human rights, migration, the impact of conflict on communities and individuals, young people, and transitional justice.
It is a not for profit company limited by guarantee with charitable status and is managed by a board of directors drawn from the community, voluntary and academic sectors.
ICR works primarily in Northern Ireland but has also carried out a number of projects in the Republic of Ireland. ICR staff have also been involved in research and training in other countries including Australia, Bosnia, France, Ghana, Israel, Italy, Kosovo, Nepal, South Africa and USA
The main areas of research experience are:
- Conflict & Violence: This includes work on violence in interface areas, disputes over parades, anti-social behaviour, various forms of hate crimes and young people’s involvement in violence;
- Equality & Diversity: various projects have been undertaken on issues affecting the minority ethnic communities and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population of Northern Ireland;
- Human Rights: ICR’s work has focused on issues associated with freedom of assembly in Northern Ireland and Europe and on the relationships between conflict intervention work and human rights;
- Legacy of the Conflict: A number of studies have explored the ongoing impact of the Troubles on individual lives, institutional practices and service provision;
- Migration: ICR has undertaken a number of studies on the changing patterns of migration to Northern Ireland. This includes an overview of general trends, plus local studies in Belfast, Dungannon and in the further education sector;
- Policing: Includes research on the relationships between the Police and young people, and black and minority ethnic communities and lesbians, gays and bisexuals. Also work on community based policing including Neighbourhood Watch;
- Sectarianism & Segregation: This includes projects on the dynamics of mixed residential communities, on the daily patterns of segregation and division, on sectarian violence and on approaches to creating a more integrated society; and
- Young People: Numerous pieces of work have include projects on young people and policing, on their experiences of violence, on young people’s views of electoral politics and work in relation to a variety of aspects of education.
Community Research and Training Programme
Since 2003, the ICR has worked with a variety of groups in providing training, support and assistance in developing, undertaking and applying research methods and practices. All individual projects are specifically designed and programmed to adapt to the needs of the local group.
The training enables groups to develop their capacity and engage with local agencies and authorities.
Our current projects include:
- Durlston Pastoral Care Centre: a cross-community dialogue project with young people from the Dunclug estate in Ballymena;
- North Belfast Women’s Initiative and Support Project: a survey of women in the Glenbryn area to explore health issues and needs, to provide a foundation for the future development of the work of the local women’s organisation; and
- North-West Flyers: work with a youth training project, involving young people from Protestant and Catholic communities in Derry Londonderry, and Lifford in Co. Donegal, involves evaluating the impact of various courses on participants.
Human Rights & Conflict Transformation
In 2002, ICR launched the ‘Human Rights and Conflict Transformation’ programme to integrate human rights principles into all community conflict resolution work.
The aims of the project are:
- To encourage dialogue, discussion and increased understanding between people working within the broad Community Relations and Human Rights sectors within Northern Ireland;
- To develop training activities that will help community relations workers to integrate human rights principles and practices into their work and vice versa; and
- To place the inter-relationships between community relations and human rights in Northern Ireland within a wider international context.
ICR are currently working with the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission to develop and deliver an introductory human rights training programme for conflict resolution workers. The participants are members of local communities with whom leaders ICR previously built links and trust.
ICR is most proud of the training manual produced after a pilot programme with NGOs with no previous experience in human rights, which was subsequently incorporated into the mainstream Human Rights Commission booklet.