In many conflicts, the line between sufferer and perpetrator is often blurred. In the aftermath of violence, the time comes for survivors, soldiers and innocents alike, to return home and heal collectively. This process gives rise to many problems—ex-combatants face stigmas and mental health problems, a lack of employable skills or education, and an absence of community ties. Meanwhile, non-combatants deal with their own traumas, the realities of living in a war torn society, and anger towards military groups. The reintroduction of former soldiers into society at large is crucial to building lasting peace and stability because without it many ex-combatants, devoid of ties to community or resources for self-sufficiency, would return to their guerrilla groups or armies. However, Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) programs must overcome many barriers to succeed. In this conversation, experts discuss the challenges and tactics of achieving effective reintegration of ex-combatants into society.
Reconciliation and peacebuilding rest upon knowing as complete a picture as possible of the nature, causes, and extent of gross violations of human rights that have been committed. Investing in the education of youth is important because it expands their worldview and challenge stereotypes. By successfully doing so, youth can actively participate in shaping lasting peace and contribute to justice and reconciliation in their respective societies. For example, Canada has integrated meaningful reconciliation into classrooms and workshops to help learn about its history of colonization and think creatively about the future. South Africa has also recognized the importance of educational reform in order to address the problem of reconciliation and conflict transformation in youth. The importance of empowering youth to engage and take an active role in non-violence, dialogue, and reconciliation was at the center of this conversation of the potential roles that youth can take in truth and reconciliation at both the local and global level.
Daily headlines around the globe portray the numerous conflicts that arise as a result of heated points of contention. Seemingly disparate ideologies, unequal distribution of resources, political, ethnic, cultural and religious differences can all be contributing factors in the emergence of conflict between groups. In the aftermath of conflict, what role can reconciliation play as a path forward; toward healing, peaceful relations, improved communication and functioning societies?
Where does the process of reconciliation begin, with whom and when? These questions and more were discussed in New Tactics in Human Rights Conversation - Reconciliation Post-Conflict: Approaches, Practices and Realities. This online conversation sought to identify the role of reconciliation in post-conflict environments. Practitioners shared experiences, lessons learned, approaches, and challenges with the reconciliation process from the perspective of reconciliation efforts around the world.
Thank you for joining Jasmina Brankovic and Sufiya Bray of the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR), Galuh Wandita and Patrick Burgess of the Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR) and the New Tactics online community for this discussion on Transitional Justice in Practice that took place on May 12 to May 23, 2014.
Over time, the action and concept of transitional justice has evolved into a method used to promote and implement democracy and sustainable peace. Two examples of transitional justice are truth commissions and institutional reform, however individual acts and processes of transitional justice are utilized differently based on the approaches, countries and the cultural context.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Peru is one of the most recent examples of the processes of transitional justice, institutionalized with the aim of exploring the truth hidden behind a past characterized by massive abuse of human rights. One of the central activities in this process is the Public Audiences, created with the aim of legitimizing and dignifying the personal experiences of the victims in order to support the therapeutic and recuperative work on their behalf.
Year of Publication: 2004
Author(s): Sofia Macher
The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) developed the concept of “briefers” to install a victim-friendly process. Victims were provided with the opportunity to testify and be supported before, during and after the process. The TRC selected briefers—chosen from the caring professions, such as ministers, social workers and nurses—from the community to provide this support. The briefers acted as volunteers and were trained to perform various tasks with regard to the entire structural process of the TRC.
Truth and Reconciliation processes have and are being implemented to aid community healing. This dialogue seeks to share experiences transitional justice processes known as Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, instituted with the aim of exploring the truth hidden behind pasts characterized by gross abuses of human rights.