Source: (2012) Paper presented at the 1st International Symposium on Restorative Justice and Human Rights. 2-7 June 2012, Skopelos Island, Greece.

Restorative justice is commonly touted as beneficial because of the space it creates for apology, for narrative, for participation in decisions about amends, and for the negotiation of future relationship. This paper posits that the strength and consistency of benefit arising from these features of restorative justice point to an overlooked relational dimension of human rights. That is, in addition to having inherent dignity and basic freedoms to be protected against violation, human beings also should be understood to have relational rights, the preservation of which is important to recovery from the damage caused by criminal or other violation. The paper argues that each of these features of restorative justice might be considered a right worthy of protection, and that such rights can be preserved without compromising the voluntariness that undergirds restorative justice. (author's abstract)