- Showing 7 posts filed under: National Reconciliation [–], Region: Latin America [–] [Show all]
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."
Brazil creates truth commission to probe rights abuses
from the article on BBC.co.uk:
Brazil's Senate has voted to set up a truth commission to investigate rights abuses, including those committed during military rule from 1964 to 1985.
The bill, already passed by the Chamber of Deputies, now goes to President Dilma Rousseff to be signed into law.
Ms Rousseff, a former left-wing activist jailed by the military, had urged Congress to pass the legislation.
Colombia moves past reconciliation and revives the idea of reparation
When unspeakable crimes have been committed, justice often falls silent, too. That’s why half a century after Colombia plunged into bloody conflict and oppression, the healing has barely begun. But a new law is trying to make victims of the violence whole in a country still fractured by brutal violence. In the process, it has revived an old debate over reparations, and how society should confront past injustices that still shape life today.
Colombia’s so-called “victims’ law” is the product of years of negotiation between the government and militia groups. The law centers on punishment as well as restitution. Many will be compelled to confess their crimes and, unlike many previous efforts at what’s been dubbed restorative justice, survivors will be allowed to petition for compensation.
Colombia to compensate victims of armed conflict.
From the article by Sibylla Brodzinsky in the Guardian:
Nearly four million victims of Colombia's long-running internal conflict could receive compensation and see their stolen lands returned under a new law.
Government and opposition figures as well as human rights activists have all hailed the legislation, which passed in the Senate last week, as "historic" and "transcendental".
The law aims to give financial compensation – equivalent to about £6,600 – for every victim reported murdered or forcibly disappeared. Colombia has one of the highest numbers of disappearances in Latin America, with more than 57,200 people still missing, at least 15,600 of which were forcibly disappeared, according to the UN high commissioner for human rights. More than 100,000 murders during the last three decades are attributed to rightwing paramilitary groups.
The limits of Colombia's demobilization programs
The security situation in Colombia has improved greatly over the last decade as the state has gained more control over the use of violence within its territory; both through combating illegal armed groups and by gaining wider legitimacy with the population.
However, there has been a resurgence of violence in recent months, for example in the city of Medellin. Some Colombians blame, at least in part, the failure of the country’s disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programs (DDR) for this new deterioration in security....
Are there, then, factors that make Colombia’s DDR programs unique, or would it suffice to state that accompanying a peace process with DDR is just difficult and bound to end in disappointment?
Internally displaced people in Colombia: Victims in permanent transition
by Dan Van Ness
I have just received a copy of a research study on the peace negotiations in Colombia: Internally displaced people in Colombia: Victims in permanent transition: Ethical and political dilemmas of reparative justice in the midst of internal armed conflict by Sandro Jiménez Ocampo, et al.
From 2004 to 2007, the Colombian Government conducted peace negotiations with paramilitary groups. One of the issues negotiated had to do with the claims of people who had been killed or forcibly displace from their land, lands that were held by the combatants when the negotiations began.
Forced displacement and deaths continued during the course of the negotiations, creating new claims. While reparation to victims was supposed to be a prominent outcome to the negotiations, the difficulties of negotiating peace in the course of a violent conflict together with the absence of the victims of displacement from the negotiation meant that there were claims of serious inadequacies with the results.
Brazil truth commission arouses military opposition.
From the BBC News article by Gary Duffy:
A package of reforms put forward by the Brazilian government to improve human rights is causing growing controversy.
A proposed truth commission to investigate torture during military rule is said to have so angered forces chiefs that they threatened to resign.
The National Human Rights Plan first provoked a row when it was revealed that it proposed setting up a truth commission to investigate torture and killings carried out during the 21 years the military was in control, from 1964 to 1985.
Although the number of victims in Brazil was far smaller than under military rule in neighbouring Argentina and Chile, hundreds of people died and thousands were tortured or forced into exile.