'Ending the Silence’: Addressing the Legacy of Displacement in Northern Ireland’s ‘Troubles’

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Though transitional justice measures are increasingly used to address displacement, particularly restitution programs and truth-telling initiatives, the issue of addressing the long-term impact of displacement on individuals, communities and wider society represents significant challenges for peacebuilding processes. Based on in-depth interviews with those who suffered displacement in Northern Ireland’s ‘Troubles’, this paper seeks to explore the marginalised and often silenced narratives of those displaced, shedding light on the multi-layered short and long-term harms and consequences of displacement for individuals, families and community relations. The article’s argument is two-fold: first, that experiences of displacement should be considered as a form of conflict-related harm and trauma and those displaced recognised as victims. And second, it finds that ‘story-telling’ and other bottom-up acknowledgment projects are seen by victims and survivors as an effective vehicle to ‘break’ the silence, end the denial and advance their pursuit of recognition and acknowledgment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Transitional Justice
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 5 Nov 2020


  • Displacement
  • Northern Ireland
  • Legacy
  • transitional justice
  • the Troubles

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