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Human rights and restorative justice

Skelton, Ann
June 4, 2015

Source: (2007) in, Gerry Johnstone and Daniel W. Van Ness, eds., Handbook of Restorative Justice. Cullompton, Devon: Willan Publishing. pp. 580-597

“In Chapter 27, Ann Skelton and Makubetse Sekhonyane explore in detail the fundamental question of how the risks that restorative interventions might pose to human rights can be managed. Simply addressing this issue requires engagement with an idea, still prevalent in the restorative justice movement, that the sorts of procedureal protections of rights found (however imperfectly) in criminal justice systems are not appropriate for restorative justice — which is voluntary and non-punitive — and may actually obstruct the sort of engagement which is necessary in order to achieve restorative outcomes. Others, sensitive to this concern but less willing to assume that benevolent intentions of programme sponsors and facilitators are sufficient protection for human rights, have sought to develop official guidelines and standards that are more consistent with the idea of restorative justice and that, if followed, should minimize the dangers of human rights violations in restorative justice. Skelton and Sekhonyane, after reviewing the concerns about rights which have been raised (not only by those hostile or skeptical about restorative justice, but also by many who are quite sympathetic to the idea), examine debates about how standards should be set and what they should contain. Importantly, they also point to the need to incorporate into the debate broader ways of thinking about human rights and their protection.” (excerpt)


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