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Research by KONDA and Hafıza Merkezi on young people's perception of human rights


Hafıza Merkezi and KONDA Research and Consultancy have published a new research on Young People's Perception of Human Rights(only available in Turkish). This research, conducted by KONDA for Hafıza Merkezi, examines the perceptions and opinions of young people on civil society, human rights and dealing with the past. The report aims to understand the tendencies, preferences and profiles of young people towards civil society in general and the human rights movement in particular, and to provide a basis for new strategies to be developed in the field of civil society. In the coming weeks, Hafıza Merkezi will organize a workshop series where the findings of the report will be discussed with young people.  

Scope of the research

The report tries to understand the tendencies of young people under five headings: 1) their experiences of participation in CSOs, 2) their perceptions of democracy, 3) their perceptions of human rights, 4) their perceptions and attitudes towards human rights defenders and CSOs, and 5) their expectations of dealing with the past.  Within the scope of the fieldwork conducted between June 25-26, 2022, 2,217 young people aged between 18 and 30 were interviewed face-to-face in their households in 144 neighborhoods of 95 districts of 28 provinces. In addition, semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 18 fieldwork participants. 

Research findings

Young people's interest in civil society is low, but there is reason to be hopeful.

Young people have little interest in civil society, but...

Let's start with the negative picture. Young people have very limited experience of participation in civil society and politics. Only 4 percent of young people are members of associations and 3 percent are members or volunteers of foundations. 4 out of every 5 young people are not members of any political party and do not want to be. Our research showed that 12 percent of young people do not participate in CSOs because they do not trust them and 11 percent because they are not interested in them. 1 out of 4 did not give any reason for not participating.

Young people's opinion on rights defenders is positive  

On the other hand, despite the negative perception that the government wants to create about rights defenders, young people define rights defenders in positive terms. "Open-minded, fair and courageous" come first in young people's perceptions of rights defenders. Only 1 out of every 10 young people define rights defenders as foreign dependent, while 4 percent say they are enemies of the state.

According to young people, women's rights are violated the most in Turkey.

Young people in Turkey think that women's rights are violated the most, followed by their own rights. In line with this, they think that human rights defenders defend women's right to equality the most and that they should defend this right the most. The right to freedom of expression comes second in the category of rights that young people think should be defended the most.

Confronting the past is an abstract issue for young people

We can say that the attitudes and expectations of young people regarding confronting the past remain abstract. While revealing the truth and social awareness are prioritized, 1 out of every 5 young people support punishing the perpetrators or paying compensation. While 18 percent of young people think that the country does not have a problem such as confronting the past, 48 percent say that all disadvantaged identities should be confronted.

After the research

We believe that there are lessons to be learned from this picture revealed by the research. For the human rights movement, overlapping rights-based struggles with the life priorities of young people, creating different levels of participation opportunities for different levels of interest of young people, and making the information produced more accessible should be the priority steps. The most important thing is to design and implement the steps to be taken under these and similar headings within processes in which young people are the subjects. For this very reason, Hafıza Merkezi will be organizing a series of workshops in the coming days, based on this research, in which we will discuss the participation of young people in the struggle for human rights together with young people, and discuss new ideas and strategies for this.  You can follow the latest developments about our work on our website and social media accounts.