ICTJ Previews Groundbreaking Work on Gender and Reparations
Friday, April 14, 2006 4:40 PM

NEW YORK, April 11, 2006-The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) today released six groundbreaking case study summaries on Gender and Reparations, in advance of the publication of a comprehensive book on the topic in late 2006. Following several years of intensive research on reparations, these case studies are the first of their kind that aim to close a significant gap in the literature on reparations by focusing attention on the voices and needs of women victims.

The ICTJ hopes that the insights offered by these case studies-which provide a gendered analysis of reparations discussions in Guatemala, Peru, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Timor-Leste-will impact the way reparations programs are crafted and carried out throughout the world.

"What we've found is that in spite of some important signs of progress, women are still often marginalized in reparations programs because the programs fail to take their specific needs into account," said Ruth Rubio-Marin, ICTJ project manager and editor of Engendering Reparations-the book that will feature the case studies. "This is becoming an increasingly salient point as more countries with a legacy of human rights abuses are turning to truth commissions and reparations as a way of recognizing and compensating victims."

Despite a notable trend towards incorporating gender concerns into the field of international justice, this research presents the first-ever attempt to articulate a gendered analysis of reparations. By drawing on six unique country experiences, the summaries raise a broad range of questions and provide concrete suggestions for designing reparations measures and policy choices that are flexible and informed by previous failures as well as best practices.

Rubio-Marin emphasizes that this kind of research is crucial to making reparations measures more effective for a huge population of victims who remain on the margins of well-intentioned but lacking programs. "If we don't ask questions about the role that gender plays in experiences of violence and programs for redress, we not only undermine the fundamental goals of justice that should inspire reparations programs, but we also miss a crucial opportunity to prevent the ongoing suffering of women victims."

The ICTJ's Work on Gender and Reparations

The ICTJ has been doing research on reparations since 2002 and will soon announce the publication of a landmark volume on this issue. With generous funding from Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the ICTJ started its Gender and Reparations Research in December 2004, when it first brought together a group of worldwide experts in New York to discuss which country contexts and thematic issues would best represent the topic to be addressed in a two-year research project. In June 2005, authors of the project met to discuss their work and to identify common trends. These case study summaries are the first product of this global collaboration and the prelude to Engendering Reparations: Recognizing and Compensating Women Victims of Human Rights Violations, due to be published later this year.

The summaries are available on ICTJ's website www.ictj.org.

About the ICTJ

The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) assists countries pursuing accountability for past mass atrocity or human rights abuse. The Center works in societies emerging from repressive rule or armed conflict, as well as in established democracies where historical injustices or systemic abuse remain unresolved.

In order to promote justice, peace, and reconciliation, government officials and nongovernmental advocates are likely to consider a variety of transitional justice approaches including both judicial and nonjudicial responses to human rights crimes. The ICTJ assists in the development of integrated, comprehensive, and localized approaches to transitional justice comprising five key elements: prosecuting perpetrators, documenting and acknowledging violations through non-judicial means such as truth commissions, reforming abusive institutions, providing reparations to victims, and facilitating reconciliation processes.

The Center is committed to building local capacity and generally strengthening the emerging field of transitional justice, and works closely with organizations and experts around the world to do so. By working in the field through local languages, the ICTJ provides comparative information, legal and policy analysis, documentation, and strategic research to justice and truth-seeking institutions, nongovernmental organizations, governments and others.

Published in: ICTJ Previews Groundbreaking Work on Gender and Reparations, International Center For Transitional Justice, Press Release, 11 April 2006.