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Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES)

Gender justice and reconciliation

Nahla Valji

Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES)

November 2007

SARPN acknowledges FES as a source of this document:
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This paper examines how women’s experiences of conflict and transition differ to that of men because of inherent gendered power relations and that, as a result, women’s experiences of violence and needs for justice have until recent times largely been ignored. It speaks to gender justice as the protection of human rights based on gender equality and explores two such tenets: the acknowledgement of and seeking justice for women’s experiences of sexual violence in conflict situations; and the securing of increased representation of women in policy- and decision-making bodies on post-conflict issues and transitional justice mechanisms. The paper then goes beyond these tenets to discuss the specific needs of women within post-confl ict systems that are male-orientated, and examines the assumptions of the transitional justice field from a gendered perspective. An examination of truth commissions is used to highlight the advances that have been made in securing redress for gender-based crimes, as well as the limitations. In particular, the article highlights the need to move beyond a focus on individual incidents of sexual violence in confl ict to addressing the context of inequality which facilitate these violations as well as the continuum of violence from conflict to post-conflict which becomes visible through a gendered analysis. The paper concludes by suggesting a range of policy recommendations for gender justice and equality in the transitional justice field.

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