St Malachy’s Youth Centre was buzzing on 24th January as hundreds of Market Residents packed into the main hall for the launch of We Must Dissent: A Framework of Community Renewal. Joined by senior representatives from Belfast City Council, Department for Communities and Housing Executive, residents listened as Professor Colin Harvey of Queen’s University welcomed “an excellent report addressing the issues and providing solutions to the problems identified across a range of areas.” Harvey went on to note that there is
“A crisis at the moment in this society, a crisis at the moment in this city, there’s a crisis at the moment across the North, there’s a crisis of human rights and equality, and it’s a crisis that needs to be urgently addressed. And if that crisis is going to be addressed effectively then it is going to rely on the sort of work that has been done and is evident in a report like this.”
The keynote speaker on the night, Mayor of Belfast Deirdre Hargey, praised the report, stating that
“I welcome the Market Development Association adopting a human rights based approach, because this is the focus that we need to retain in the time ahead: to say that people do have a right to a home; that people do have a right to live in an environment that has clear air and where air pollution is reduced; people do have a right to live in an area where they are not dying ten years before the average of other areas of this city; people do have the right to an education. Thus human rights based approach is critical, and I am encouraging government departments and statutory agencies and others to adopt the same approach, because when the Good Friday Agreement was signed 21 years ago equality and human rights were at its heart.”
Áine Brady, Chairwoman of the Market Development Association noted that We Must Dissent:
“Lays out the keys issues for residents as identified by the community survey, it matches these issues against human rights, and presents government with solutions to start addressing them. We Must Dissent is not the solution to all our problems, but it is a good, solid start. To residents, it is our call to action to get involved in the place where you live, take ownership of it and play your part. For decision makers, its our call to you to show respect for who we are, to listen to residents, and most importantly to act on what we have to say”
Bringing together the results of the 2018 Market Community Survey and Human Rights Indicators set by residents to address issues which detrimentally impact their quality of life – homelessness, unemployment, low qualifications, addiction, road safety and commercial overdevelopment – We Must Dissent: A Framework for Community Renewal sets out how the community can begin addressing the issues and bring about real change for the betterment of all.
To compliment the publication of We Must Dissent: A Framework for Community Renewal, residents also produced a short film they have produced highlighting the issues.