Confronting exclusion: Time for radical reconciliation
from the report by Kim Wale:
The 2013 South African Reconciliation Barometer (henceforth SARB or Reconciliation Barometer) Report pays closer attention to the relationship between reconciliation, inequality and exclusion. It posits that reconciliation becomes difficult when social divisions are the result of unequal power relations that are being perpetuated in society. Reconciliation, exclusion and inequality are intimately tied to one another. More often than not an imbalance in power results in the material, symbolic, political and social exclusion of marginalised sectors of society.
Truth and reconciliation conference sheds light on residential schools
from the article on Wetaskiwintimes.com:
It has been a long time coming, but the healing process for the First Nations people of Canada and the government of the country has begun.
On past decades and decades of silence, of being controlled and being abused, First Nations people can finally break their silence of the injustice they have suffered.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada was created to unearth the pain and suffering that the Aboriginal community had gone through from the result of the residential schools that the government started in the 1870s. This past Thursday and Friday, the commission came to the Hobbema community to hear the stories of those who endured the torture of these residential schools.
Mediating criminal violence: Lessons from the gang truce in El Salvador
from the research report by Teresa Whitfield:
During the 1980s El Salvador suffered a bitterly contested civil war. Negotiations mediated by the United Nations concluded in a peace agreement in 1992 and set the course for the, largely smooth, assimilation of former guerrillas in the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) into Salvadoran political life. Post-war, violence perpetrated by illegal armed groups escalated as a result of the involvement of gangs and a range of other criminal actors, in parallel to similar crises of security in Guatemala and Honduras. Honduras and El Salvador were subsequently placed first and second in the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime’s global index of homicide with 92 and 69 homicides per 100,000 respectively in 2011.
In a shift from previous policies which had emphasized the robust suppression of violent crime, in March 2012 facilitators answerable to the Salvadoran government mediated a controversial truce between the country’s two main gangs. The truce brought about a dramatic reduction in the country’s homicide rate whilst raising multiple questions about the risks and benefits of direct engagement with criminal actors.
African women mobilize to build peace
….Women from Mozambique described ways they are working to create a culture of peace in their country after years of war.
“Since the signing of the peace agreement in 1992, we can live in peace,” Rute Uthui of United Methodist Women of Mozambique said through an interpreter. “In the church since last year we always talk about peace and the maintaining of peace on the radio and in the news. Our women’s group meets every Thursday, and we never walk out without talking about peace and what we can do to maintain it.
"We are facing now criminality. When those people are caught, some want to beat them, but we say, talk to them—punish them according to what they’ve done—but not the violence, talk to them about peace.”
Restorative justice: The long struggle
from the article by Donald Shriver in Tikkun:
….Large, organized, collective interests are at odds with the future of restorative justice: unions of prison guards, economic benefits to communities from prisons, and then—perhaps the most difficult injustice of all—historical crimes whose legacies subject whole groups of people to continuing injustice. Like the Maori, indigenous peoples in the United States and Canada are waiting for healings that exceed any form of individual therapy for crime’s victims and offenders: the land stolen by European colonists from the indigenous, the treaties broken, the genocide, intended or not, that devastated them. Perhaps, speculates Elster, the restorative experience of individuals in procedures like family group conferences and victim compensations will prepare people to see their duties to work as citizens for restorative remedies for these huge historical injustices.
Mar 21, 2013 National Reconciliation
Restorative approaches in local conflicts of Northern Ireland
….While many people in Northern Ireland encounter each other through their employment, through shopping and through their social life, most people live in neighbourhoods that are predominantly made up of Protestants or Catholics. The many community relations projects throughout the country offer opportunities for people of different identities to meet and share their experiences. These are voluntary programmes and may not attract those most antagonistic towards the „other‟ and most engaged in violence. Those who are arrested for violence or hate crime will be dealt with by the criminal justice system and are unlikely to engage with their victims unless they are under the age of 18 or are referred to a community based restorative project.
The gods are angry
....There are more than 2,000 African ethnic groups but despite the incredible diversity there are striking commonalities among them. Whereas Western jurisprudence emphasizes punishing the guilty, the widespread African tradition stresses restitution and reconciliation or "restorative justice"—the basis of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commissions established after the dismantling of Apartheid.
Africa's economic heritage featured free village markets. There were rudimentary free markets in Timbuktu, Kano, Salaga, Onitsa, Mombasa and elsewhere before the advent of the colonial era.
Whereas the West practiced majoritarian, or representative, democracy, ancient Africans practiced participatory democracy, where decisions were taken by consensus at village meetings variously called asetena kese by the Ashanti, ama-ala by the Igbo, guurti by the Somali, dare by the Shona, ndaba by the Zulu or kgotla by the Tswana.
How does healing happen?
The Restorative Justice movement teaches us that everyone involved in a crime or injustice (victims, perpetrators, and the community of people whose lives are touched and altered) needs healing and must participate in the healing process.
This year, the One Action One Boulder project has pointed to a gaping wound in the Boulder Valley, a wound that goes back 150 years. We do not like to think about it because it makes good people feel bad. Still, it is undeniable: we live on land stolen from the Arapaho and Cheyenne peoples, and we are all unconscious beneficiaries of the swindle. Our community needs healing. In the coming Thanksgiving season we have an important opportunity.
Central America: Promoting restorative justice
....Despite increased requests for alternative initiatives to curb violence and crime (for instance, see the Caravan for Peace, September-October 2012 NewsNotes), the U.S. continues to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Latin America, which often promotes a dysfunctional system.
Lisa Haugaard, director of the Latin America Working Group, testified to the U.S. Congress in September: "[It] is essential that the United States not encourage militaries to take over roles that are more appropriate for police forces … In both Central America and Mexico, we are concerned that the U.S. government has either encouraged or tacitly supported inappropriate roles for the military ... Even though we all know that police are often too weak, corrupt, or abusive, it is a short-term and shortsighted solution to place military in police roles, and it can lead to more abuses. And military-style responses to law enforcement problems—whether or not they are carried out by military forces—can lead to serious human rights abuses."
Girl's death 24 years ago haunts quest for justice in reformist Myanmar
....The authorities haven't forgotten either. Political reform in Myanmar is fostering greater openness about past atrocities but little accountability, especially when the country's still-powerful military is involved. Today, Win Maw Oo's impoverished and long-suffering family remains under police surveillance.