Source: (2004) Columbia Human Rights Law Review. 35: 661-728

With a large number of countries in recent years seeking to make the transition from a period of violence and human rights violations to a more democratic and stable society, the language of reconciliation has become prominent; the pursuit of reconciliation has been touted as the cure for the ills and divisiveness in each country. Jeremy Sarkin and Erin Daly acknowledge both the prevalence and the appeal of the idea of reconciliation. At the same time, they believe that there are serious questions and issues connected with the notion and pursuit of reconciliation, and that these questions and issues are not being adequately considered and addressed by policy makers. Hence, Sarkin and Daly explore certain questions that confront an incipient government in promoting reconciliation as the cure for ills in a transitional society. They first raise broad conceptual questions about reconciliation. This leads to discussion of historical factors fostering reconciliation initiatives, the effectiveness of the pursuit of reconciliation, and mechanisms by which nations pursue reconciliation.