CHRCR has compiled a preliminary list of resources which examine the intersection between theories of and approaches to human rights and conflict resolution. We welcome the suggestion of articles, reports, books and other publications that should be added to the list.
To request an addition, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kadar Asmal, "Victims, Survivors and Citizens: Human Rights, Reparations and Reconciliation in the South African Context", 1(1) East African Journal of Peace and Human Rights 1 (1993).
In a very positive and optimistic article designed to underscore the value of an adherence to constitutionalism in the face of severe social trauma, the author explains that no matter the advances in toppling apartheid, true progress will be halted as long as the abuses of the past are not recognized and justice given a voice. The resolution of conflict, therefore, is a function of recognizing human rights violations and making available their reparations. The author concludes by looking to how other countries have dealt with past abuses, including Argentina, Chile, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, and Germany.
Alex Boraine, "A Country Unmasked" (2000).
As a member of the TRC, the author presents a thorough and personalized account of the background, process, and content of the Commission. The author explains that the central core of the conciliation process is "the holding in balance of the political realities of a country struggling through a negotiated transition and an ancient African philosophy which seeks unity and reconciliation rather than revenge and punishment. These two poles, political and philosophical, cannot be separated from each other. The political reality of a negotiated settlement involving compromise and consensus made some sort of amnesty inevitable."
Ian Liebenberg, "The TRC in South Africa: Context, Future and some Imponderables", 11 South African Public Law 123 (1993).
This article surveys the political background, history, and reasons for establishing a truth and reconciliation commission in South Africa. He author also examines the context in which the TRC emerged, looking at countries which have and have not taken official steps in dealing with past abuse. After listing a number of theories of reconciliation which root the TRC, the author critically questions the effect of the commission, particularly in its divergent dealings with apartheid criminals and those responsible for human rights abuses during the liberation struggle.
Leach Werchick, "Prospects for Justice in Rwanda's Citizen Tribunals", Human Rights Brief, Spring 2001.
"For the past seven years, Rwanda has struggled, through domestic trials, to bring to justice the massive number of persons who took part in the 1994 genocide. The Rwandan government now plans to establish over 10,000 community-based tribunals, composed of ordinary citizens, to try those suspected of committing crimes during the Rwandan genocide. While this new system, known as "gacaca," is presented as an updated form of an indigenous conflict resolution practice of the same name, it raises various due process concerns and has a substantially different function and authority. The Rwandan government expects the gacaca tribunals to begin operating some time in 2001."
Richard A. Wilson, "The Politics Of Truth And Reconciliation In South Africa" (2001).
Taking a critical view of human rights policy, the author suggests that as the Cold War has ended and liberal democracy gains even greater currency, "human rights talk" has become a badge for state-building and participation by governments who may do much to "talk the talk", but do not find themselves walking very much. The elaboration and dilution of human rights talk has made it difficult to genuinely resolve conflicts because institutions like the TRC suddenly find themselves facing a bevy of tasks that they are neither designed to handle, or have the mandate to realize.