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Next Generation: Insecure Lives, Untold Stories PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by KULT   
Monday, 12 May 2014 15:01

IMG 6380Next Generation: Insecure Lives, Untold Stories is the title of a British Council report on a research study conducted in Pakistan. A global conference was held under the same title, as not only a chance to present the research results but to have experts and youth representatives from 15 countries discuss youth position in the societies affected by conflicts and violence.

The Conference was attended by the Institute’s CEO, invited by the British Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Being one of the panellists, he accentuated the importance of youth education as the most effective mechanism for them to turn towards future and see the solution to violence and conflict issues.

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Painting a picture of a generation on the knife edge, the British Council Report “Next Generation; Insecure Lives, Untold Stories,” says that far from benefiting from the youthful population, Pakistan risks entering a self-perpetuating demographic disaster. Competition for jobs, land, resources and political patronage damages the prospects of the young and is a growing cause of instability.

 

Incentives to invest in future are low, while a series of crisis limits government’s ability to make long-term decisions. Faith in authority figures and institutions is collapsing and the next generation loses confidence in the future, says the report.

 

The report, which is one of the largest collections of qualitative research, has gathered 1,800 stories from across the country, assessing the impact of different kinds of violence on the youth.

 

It says violence is a binding constraint to realising the potential of Pakistan’s youth – not just political violence, but criminal and domestic violence – starve young people of opportunities and make it harder for the country to benefit from the demographic dividend that could transform its future.

 

However, Pakistan needs to realise that “the next generation is increasingly gripped by a profound feeling of helplessness and young people do not feel in control of their own destinies.” That is the area that it needs to work on.

 

The well-attended conference, arranged to launch the report, was addressed by a number of young speakers from Northern Ireland, Burma, Philippines, South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo and several other countries who have also confronted the legacy of conflict, violent crime and domestic violence.

The report’s authors were of the opinion that it was aimed at stimulating debate among policymakers about the impact of uncontrolled violence against youth, increase understanding of the psychological, social and economic impact of conflict and need to address these impacts.

The report calls out to the people of Pakistan, the government and the international community to create a nonpartisan coalition that reaches across political divides to confront violence. It asks for the creation of a ‘Commission for Survivors and Victims’, alongside a day and book of remembrance, to give a voice to those affected by conflict and violence. To both the government and the international community, its urges the need for a large-scale programme to address the mental health needs of survivors of violence and the families of victims, and to have a similarly ambitious programme to tackle those who perpetrate violence. The reality of conflict and violence is acknowledged in Pakistan by its leaders and the media, but its effects on survivors is not well-understood. The report fills that gap. The stories shared by the youth are deeply personal and moving, but some offer new hope, as we see how hard some members of the next generation are struggling to increase the resilience of their communities and to establish a culture of non-violence.

 

According to the report, political rivalry is the main reason of conflict among young people in Pakistan as a country. However, only 12% of them think that political rivalry is the cause of conflict within the community they live in. Land disputes is the top reason of conflict within the community, with 38% of the young people stating it as the reason.

 

According to the report 42% of the young people sampled listed escaping from poverty as the main reason for young people to carry out acts of violence. 17% stated defending their honour or that of their family as the top motivation.

 

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