AbstractsPolitical Science

Human rights and conflict in Northern Ireland

by Omar Grech

Institution: University of Limerick
Year: 2016
Keywords: Northern Ireland; human rights; conflect
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2066585
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10344/5201


This study seeks to answer two related research questions: (i) the extent to which, and ways in which, human rights influenced the Northern Ireland conflict in its various phases (pre-conflict, during conflict and postconflict); and (ii) how the conflict in Northern Ireland influenced the understanding of human rights within Northern Ireland with specific reference to the two main political traditions (i.e. unionism and nationalism) In order to respond to these questions the Northern Ireland conflict will be examined using human rights as its framework of analysis. This examination will be conducted in a chronological fashion commencing from the creation of the Northern Ireland state in 1921 and terminating in 2014. This relatively long time-frame will allow an analysis of how human rights impacted upon the conflict in its broadest understanding (i.e. the pre-violent conflict phase, the violent conflict phase and the post-violent conflict phase) and also allow a better understanding on how the various stages of conflict impacted upon how human rights are understood and practiced in Northern Ireland today. The study’s main findings are that: (i) human rights had an impact, sometimes significant, on the development of the conflict and on specific episodes in the Northern Irish conflict in its various stages; (ii) human rights violations were both underlying causes and direct causes of the descent into violence; (iii) the conflict coloured the view of human rights held by the main political actors; and (iv) human rights continue to be understood, at least partially, through the prism of the conflict. The study utilises qualitative research methods relying on the interpretation of primary sources such as archival documentation pertaining to governmental entities and political actors as well as interviews with political actors and other relevant individuals. These primary sources are interpreted in the framework of ongoing developments in the legislative and policy spheres at the domestic, regional and international level. Wherever appropriate, secondary sources are also utilised to supplement the primary sources. Advisors/Committee Members: Lodge, Tom.