The community of Greensboro, North Carolina hosted a unique Truth and Reconciliation Commission, developed as an act of society rather than the government, and has been the only Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in the United States. Community survivors and activists saw a need for action beyond the legal system; they wanted to alleviate the pain harbored in victims, and address the racial hatred enduring in others.
Remembering Victims and Abuses
A group of Burmese laborers who were forced to work on a pipeline project in Myanmar successfully filed suit against two co-venturers in the pipeline project, Unocal and Total. They claim that the two transnational corporations knew and profited from the fact that the military of Myanmar was using violence and intimidation to relocate villages, enslave farmers, commit rape and other torture, steal land and force persons to work on the pipeline.
The Community Trust Fund (CTF) involved youth volunteers as Peace Facilitators to reduce friction between internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host communities (or residence of temporary settlement of IDPs) in Sri Lanka. The CTF was successful in introducing a non–violent conflict resolution program at the community level by mobilizing youth volunteers in an effort to bring IDPs and host communities together. The youth volunteers’ work contributed to the creation of village peace committees comprised of leaders in both communities.
The Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) stages informance plays—performances meant to inform—on social issues ranging from women’s rights to children’s rights across the Philippines. With its mobile theater, PETA uses informance plays as tools to engage the public to confront important social issues that remain unaddressed. In doing so, PETA indirectly forces individuals to seek solutions to their own problems.
Women cycling together can create a powerful message. To date, over 1,075 women from over 30 countries have pedaled for peace in the Follow the Women for Peace (FTW) bike rides through Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and into Palestine to raise awareness for the urgent need for peace and human rights for all. Its core purpose is to empower women to take action for peace and an end to violence.
The Jewish-Arab Community Association (JACA) in the Wolfson Neighborhood of Acre, Israel, has a youth parliament in which Jewish and Arab youths from the community can take part to learn about and put into practice the concept of coexistence. JACA teaches democracy and tolerance and helps to develop lines of communication and civil debate in order to develop young leadership dedicated to coexistence in Israel.
The Guatemalan Anthropological Team (EAFG) coordinates its efforts to exhume the victims of genocide and investigate their deaths with the local Indigenous populations. This helps the families and communities of the victims to confront the tragedies and their own grief while learning what happened to their loved ones.
Sisterhood is Global Institute (SIGI) uses an informal educational model that allows Muslim women to easily identify universal human rights concepts in terms of local cultural traditions, myths, texts and local languages. This model facilitates the transmission of the human rights concepts inscribed in major international documents to grassroots populations in Muslim societies.
In Sweden, the Discrimination Ombudsman (DO) is a political institutional body that was created to allow citizens to assert their right to be protected against discrimination and to provide both advice and litigation power. The DO is one of four Ombudsman offices that are used to strengthen political and social protections for those victimized by discrimination.
Human rights groups can now use internet technology in order to help collect, organise, safeguard and disseminate information about human rights violations. The Martus Human Rights Bulletin System is a database tool that addresses the specific technological needs of the human rights community by dramatically improving their ability to manage information, document abuses and prevent the information from being confiscated or destroyed.