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Restorative justice and the governance of security in the Southwest Pacific

Dinnen, Sinclair
June 4, 2015

Source: (2006) In, Dennis Sullivan and Larry Tifft editors, “Handbook of Restorative Justice” A Global Perspective. London and New York: Routledge. Taylor & Francis Group pp.401-419

This chapter examines the social and historical foundations of restorative justice practices in the Melanesian countries of the Southwest Pacific and, in particular, in the independent states of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and, to a lesser extent, Fiji. There are a number of reasons for considering restorative justice in what for many readers is likely to be an unfamiliar part of the world. In the first place, this region is distinguished by its extraordinary high levels of socio-linguistic diversity and legal pluralism. Consequently, there is a richness of regulatory traditions and practices, reflecting the complex entanglement of different social and political orders to be found within the national borders of each of these “imagined communities.” This diversity is particularly marked in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu. Large numbers of relatively autonomous and self-regulating tribal and clan-based associations continue to exert a significant influence at local levels alongside generally weak introduced national justice systems. While the former have evolved over thousands of years, the latter are the product of a relatively short and recent colonial past. (excerpt)


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