Countries currently facing, or emerging from, situations of massive human rights violations face particular challenges in affording justice and redress to victims.
In a post-conflict context, there are often distinct challenges to progress justice and accountability. Conflict impacts upon the nature and forms of torture, the types of perpetrators (state and non-state actors) as well as the nature and position of the victims (children, women, displaced persons).
During conflict, torture is rarely perpetrated in isolation, but forms part of a broader pattern of human rights abuses.
Since its establishment, REDRESS has assisted survivors of torture and related international crimes in post-conflict contexts to seek justice and redress. Torture survivors have rights to effective remedies and reparation under international law. However, survivors’ rights and interests are generally negatively impacted in post-conflict contexts.
Transitional justice approaches may not always address the deep-seated causes and consequences of victimisation. Furthermore, the political context in which such measures are developed may result in ad hoc or partial responses which may not always result in effective and adequate reparation.
In addition to this, the difficult living conditions that most survivors find themselves in make it hard for them to access information about their rights and available mechanisms for redress.
REDRESS’ focus on justice for victims is vital given that this perspective is often absent and rarely articulated in the wake of major societal conflict.
REDRESS’ work in the area of mass victimisation includes:
- Building networks and empowering local survivor groups
- Providing expertise to local groups to inform and influence law and policy at the national level, and to ensure compliance with international standards and inclusion of survivors’ perspectives
- Influencing policy, practice and jurisprudence on how national and international justice mechanisms should operate in post-conflict contexts, ensuring that victims are able to exercise their rights.