Restorative

Storytelling for Truth and Reconciliation

Since the onset of conflict in 2011, over 400,000 Syrian lives have been lost, and more than half of the population remains displaced; nearly 6 million refugees are living outside of the country and an additional 6 million are displaced within Syria’s borders, according to a 2020 World Bank report. Those who have lost their loved ones and their homes are often left voiceless, leaving an astonishing number of stories left untold.

Applying international law to gain justice for victims and combat impunity

This tactic provides a pathway for victims of severe abuses perpetrated against them to seek justice denied them in their home country. Although it may require considerable time, the application of universal jurisdiction is gaining recognition by countries around the world as an effective way to internationally combat impunity. Universal jurisdiction is a legal principle of international law that allows national courts to prosecute such crimes regardless of where they occurred or the nationality of the perpetrator or victim.

Using a victim accompaniment process to provide emotional support for testimony

When addressing human rights violations in a public reconciliation process, it’s important to make the process comfortable for victims who testify. One tactic is “accompaniment” of victims by volunteers trained in psychosocial support and the practical realities of the process. The goal is to give victims an empowering experience that helps their healing and does not contribute to re-traumatization.

To address gross human rights violations committed during apartheid, the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was initiated by legislation in 1995. Their mandate was to document violations committed by state bodies or armed opposition, to promote national unity and reconcili­ation, and to offer policy reforms to prevent future abuses. In addition to amnesty and human rights hearings, special hearings were held, focused on abuses suffered by women and children. These hearings were held around the country and were covered exten­sively by all media.

Online Blackout to Protest Anti-Freedom of Speech Laws Against Press on the Internet

The “Free Net” campaign joined forces with Jordanian online newspapers in announcing the 28th of August, 2012, to be internet blackout day. Online websites along with online news sites decided to turn their pages black in protest of the legal restrictions regarding press freedom after passing a bill on press and publication.

Engaging pro-bono lawyers and peer legal counselors for expanding access to justice

Kituo Cha Sheria (Legal Advice Centre) helps to empower prisoners to advocate for themselves by providing legal education in Kenyan prisons.

Issues of poverty, marginalization, and vulnerability affect people’s access to justice. Kituo Cha Sheria, founded in 1973 by a small group of legal professionals, works to combat this lack of access by providing free education to the most marginalized communities, particularly prison inmates. In Kenya, the ratio of legal practitioners to the population is 1 to 5,000, so these services are desperately needed.

Using Theatrical Tales as Documentation of Personal Testimonies

Stories are one of the most effective means in documenting an event a group of people or a society has witnessed. This tactic is a model of using dramatization, the art of storytelling and theatre, as a way of documenting personal testimonies and registering them as one of the written and painted historical sources away from the hands of the government and their historians, and to remind the people of the demands that they protested for.

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