On Tuesday, April 26, 2016, the Director of the Education Policies Program of the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR), Dr. Clara Ramírez Barat, participated in a panel discussion held by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in New York.
Entitled “Victim Participation in Transitional Justice”, the event worked to consider the outcomes of a day-long expert workshop completed the previous day that sought to confront the lack of research-based methodological tools available to ensure that a sufficient level of victim participation is built into the synthesis and decision-making processes of justice policies which address the legacies of past human rights violations. Focusing on this participatory element of transitional justice, the objective of the workshop was to compile a set of best practices that would inform future efforts in the field and the identification of the tangible benefits of victim participation.
Presided over by Pablo de Greiff, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, the panel discussion also included the participation of Henrik Larsen, UNDP’s Country Director in Angola, Peter van der Auweraert, Head of the Land, Property, and Reparations Division at the International Organization for Migration, Alexander Mayer-Rieckh, an independent expert on the vetting and reform of security institutions and Elizabeth Turner, who works on UNDP’s Programa de Acompañamiento a la Justicia de Transición in Guatemala.
Commenting on the discussion, Dr. Ramírez-Barat said:
Despite the recognized importance of establishing effective channels for victim participation in transitional justice processes, it is surprising how little we know about how to actually make this happen. If such participation is to be safe and really contribute to empowering communities in a sustainable manner, however, it needs to be carefully planned. When done well, the inclusion of victims in justice processes may play a key role in building stronger communities and preventing the recurrence of violence.