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Illustrative Review of Case-Studies of Practises of Healing Justice around the World.

Sawatsky, Jarem.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2006) Paper presented to the 3rd Asia Pacific Mediation Forum Conference. University of the South Pacific, Suva. June 26-30.

More and more groups are using the terminology of healing justice to describe local ways of responding to harms which point away from western models of state justice, while at the same time as point toward collective notions of a justice that heals. Often these groups extend this healing justice not just to “victims” and “offenders” or to disputants but also to the wider community, socio-economic structures, the land and sometimes even into the Spirit world.
This paper will provide an illustrative overview of case studies from around the world of groups using such a justice. Two kinds of sources will be used; anthropological and other participatory studies carried out by academics who have been in long-term respectful collaboration with the local community and first-hand accounts from those within particular communities. These sources will keep this analysis rooted in the lives and context of the communities examined. The goal is to get a glimpse of the practice and to enter into the imaginations of healing justice. To that end, local practices are sometimes contrasted with mainline Western approaches to highlight the differences. The conclusion summarizes some of the tendencies and characteristics of healing justice illustrated by the case-studies.
Mediation has sometimes presented itself as a one-size-fits-all process which is not bound by any particular assumptions or culture. This is of course quite misleading. A focus on cases of healing justice from around the world will challenge the notion that mediation is not entangled with all sort of cultural assumptions while at the same time drawing readers into diverse manners of engaging conflict in ways that meet and transform the typical goals of mediation. (author’s abstract)


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