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Truth and Reconciliation Commissions Collective Emotional Healing.

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Presentation on theme: "Truth and Reconciliation Commissions Collective Emotional Healing."— Presentation transcript:

1 Truth and Reconciliation Commissions Collective Emotional Healing

2 History ongoing Intra-State conflicts in 78 different countries The end of the cold war started many revolutions, and insurgencies Decades of repression and years of war left deep emotional and physical scars The competing groups must reconcile themselves with the past, as well as the future

3 Structural-Systemic Perspective Emotional Perspective Cognitive Perspective Interests Perspective Anatomy of a Conflict: A Framework for Analysis

4 StructuralInterestCognitiveEmotional Core Concerns Distribution of power & resources ‘Built-in’ structural inequalities Underlying interests, goals and objectives Beliefs Schemas Frames Fear Loss and grief Rage Pathology GoalsJusticeIntegration or compromise ReframingHealing Conflict Management Techniques Revolution Re- distribution De- construction Negotiation / mediation compromise bargaining win-win Facilitated contact Truth-telling Public Acknowledge- ment Forgiveness

5 Emotions Grief Guilt Anger Indignation Confusion Fear Loss Pain Hate Shame Pity Violation Victimization Insecurity Humiliation

6 Post Conflict Options Amnesia Trials and Justice Lustration Negotiated Restitution and Compensation Political re-education Truth Commissions

7 Theory Johan Galtung: Positive Peace –“Positive peace is more than the absence of violence; it is the presence of social justice through equal opportunity, a fair distribution of power and resources, equal protection and impartial enforcement of law."

8 Michel Foucault: Discourse as Power –“Interpretation of reality is an assertion of power” Ron Kraybill: Emotion –“Reconciliation as an interpersonal or intergroup encounter is a difficult and delicate process that is not simply a matter of the head, but more so of the heart.”

9 Truth Commissions Developed over the past 30 years 30 or so TRC’s, USIP website for list There have been TRC’s on 4 continents Definitions vary

10 Common Characteristics Defined time limit of operation Created at a point of transition Officially sanctioned Non-Judicial bodies Authority for unusual access to investigate sensitive issues Focus on the past Investigate Patterns of abuse over time Focus on human rights violations Conclude with a report

11 Goals Record the past Identify perpetrators Overcome denial Restore dignity Promote healing Educate about the past Prevent future violence Form basis for Democratic order Promote reconciliation Legitimate and stabilize new regime Create a collective memory

12 A Model in Transition TRC model is inherently malleable Mandate Local Political Situation Local Reconciliation Methods Local Religion Funding Infrastructure Length of time to investigate This is its greatest strength

13 State of the Model Now South Africa’s TRC has become the model It was provided massive attention –Media –Academic –Political The hearings were the main focus of attention

14 Hearings Preceded by Statement Takers Small percentage chosen Usually recorded Usually translated Usually very ritualistic Not a primary source of date, more for collective healing purposes

15 Role of Hearings TRC goals are national, not only individual Media plays a huge role Ritual plays a huge role Goal is to reconcile groups (identity groups) Individual healing is used as a catalyst Show victims = de-legitimize denial

16 Strengths Provides dignity to victims Provides recognition of past crimes Defeats Impunity Humanizes the ‘Other’ Provides security Broad investigative power Inclusive character De-legitimizes denial of violent past

17 Weaknesses ‘Truth’ is not always an indigenous form of reconciliation and psychological healing TRC model may be viewed as illegitimate Lack of minority/privileged participation Suitability only to certain situations Hard to represent all views Too open to the charge of purposeful manipulation of victim’s ‘truths’

18 Conclusion One among many options Model in transition – Malleability Acknowledges and addresses emotion and suffering Individual to Communal impact Legitimizes new order by refuting the old


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