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

This paper addresses two questions. The first is theoretical: What is the relationship between rights and restorative justice? The answer to this question leads to the second, pragmatic question: Can we pursue restorative aims when access to redress has been limited or denied? This is explored through a case example. In the face of the challenges that this case example presents In the face of these challenges to practice, I question whether rights theories are a necessary but insufficient foundation for restorative justice. I will argue that if we are concerned with the restorative principle of justice, in the current state of Western legal traditions at least, it will be difficult to meet this criterion without a strong foundation of human rights. However, in practice, that foundation may not provide for the fulfilment of rights, and even if it could, legal systems cannot always achieve justice. So the issue for the practitioner is, absent a strong rights foundation, what can be done? If we broaden our context and see justice as a servant of peacemaking, restorative practitioners can explore means of promoting peace, which may include the promotion of human rights.(author's abstract)