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Symbolic reparations and reconciliation: Lessons from South Africa.

Naidu, Ereshnee
June 4, 2015

Source: (2012) Buffalo Human Rights Law Review. 19:251-271.

This Article considers South Africa’s experience with one such reparative
measure: memorialization. Under the broad banner of symbolic reparations,
4 memorialization has gained increased credibility as one of the many
forms of reparations that can assist post-conflict societies in coming to
terms with the past. Various truth commissions, such as those established in
Chile, South Africa, Liberia and Timor-Leste, have made recommendations
for symbolic reparations initiatives within a broader reparations framework,
noting its potential to contribute to processes of reconciliation, healing, victim
recognition, and guarantees of non-repetition of past abuses.5 Whether
memorialization initiatives in fact contribute to these ends nevertheless depends
on multiple factors. In particular, as the South African experience
suggests, such initiatives can be meaningful only if linked to other forms of
reparation and part of a comprehensive package that includes compensation,
rehabilitation, and increased access to health services and community reparation.
Indeed, for most societies recovering from the aftermath of violence,
there are a variety of competing needs-of individuals, the collective, and
the state-that require constant mediation. Initiators of reparations programs
seeking to achieve some of the social, psychological and political
goals of reintegrating victims into society, rebuilding civic trust, and reestablishing
equal conditions amongst citizens must take these competing
needs into account in post-conflict reconstruction and transformation. (excerpt)


AbstractAfricaCourtsPost-Conflict ReconciliationRJ in SchoolsStatutes and Legislation
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