Youth Violence & Societal Unrest

Pax Christi International’s work for peace is not limited merely to geopolitical peace and the absence of armed conflict between nation-states. Instead, it encompasses a desire for peace between communities, neighbourhoods, within the family and among individuals. For this reason, we view youth violence and societal unrest with deep concern, because it reflects deep discord and division within our society.

As a movement, we aim to help alleviate this troubling problem through a two-fold approach. First, work must be done to eliminate the cultural, economic, and structural conditions that marginalize vulnerable youth and that pressure them into using riots, destruction, and force to voice their grievances. Secondly, youth in areas prone to violence must be taught nonviolent methods of expressing their frustrations and must be provided with opportunities for self improvement and advancement in society.

The first goal, changing the structural and cultural conditions that lead to violence, is a momentous task that will involve government and business officials, civil society, community and religious leaders, and community residents. Although Pax Christi International cannot single-handedly undertake this effort, it can certainly work to influence and foster that change.

The second goal, that of empowering the youth and providing them with alternatives to violence, is more focused and can be substantially impacted by the work of Pax Christi International and its member organisations.

Through tireless work, perseverance, and unity, Pax Christi can help to improve the lives of adolescents who are currently stuck in a dangerous spiral of violence and hatred.

“Youth violence and societal unrest” was therefore one of the main focal points of the latest World Assembly, uniting all member organisations of Pax Christi International behind the common goal of alleviating this crucial problem for a just and peaceful future of our society.