Back to RJ Archive

Rehumanizing the Other: Empathy and Reconciliation

Halpern, Sylvie
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) Human Rights Quarterly. 26: 561–583.

The health effects of intra-ethnic conflict include hatred and fear among neighbors and friends who have become enemies. The dehumanization of specific groups through concomitant stereotyping does not stop when conflicts end. The inability to see former enemies as real people impedes reconciliation. While much attention has been paid to the reconstruction of infrastructure and the establishment of rule of law, little thought has been given to what is required at the day to day level in order to restore a sense of interpersonal security. To reverse the destruction of social and familial
networks that normally sustain health and well-being, a process of rehumanization must occur. We suggest that the promotion of empathy is a critical component of reconciliation. Author’s abstract.


Support the cause

We've Been Restoring Justice for More Than 40 Years

Your donation helps Prison Fellowship International repair the harm caused by crime by emphasizing accountability, forgiveness, and making amends for prisoners and those affected by their actions. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results are transformational.

Donate Now