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Executive Summary

Transitional justice comprises a range of mechanisms to achieve redress for mass human rights violations. It has become a critical component of efforts to strengthen post-conflict rule of law, and is an integral element of the peacebuilding agenda. These mechanisms, which can include prosecutions, reparations, truth-seeking, institutional reform, and others, are also relevant for furthering the implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000), and related resolutions 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1889 (2009), 1960 (2010), 2106 (2013), and 2122 (2013), with respect to ensuring women’s involvement in all aspects of post-conflict recovery and peacebuilding, and providing justice and redress for conflict-related abuses of women’s rights. As research shows, women play a central role in rebuilding war-torn societies and are, all too often, victimized during conflict. And yet, women are rarely consulted in the formulation of transitional justice mechanisms, and are poorly supported throughout the lifespan of these processes. Understanding the needs of women and girls before, during, and after a conflict is essential to ensuring that these mechanisms lead to transformative change for women and the societies they help rebuild. Interventions are needed that do not simply add women into the existing processes of transitional justice bodies, but intentionally and strategically address the underlying structural inequalities that prevent women from participating in and benefiting from these processes.

This volume attempts to share some of the ideas outlined in a Bridging Theory and Practice symposium on the topic of women and transitional justice. In the following pages, Jennifer Moore presents a useful framework for how to conduct qualitative research that focuses on the work of women-led, community-based organizations in Uganda, Sierra Leone, and Burundi, and in doing so helps construct a research model that can be adapted across contexts. Rebekka Friedman provides reflections on women’s experiences in culturally mediated grieving and recovery processes in northern Sri Lanka. Anna Applebaum and Briana Mawby discuss the opportunities and challenges to engendering transitional justice processes in Kenya after the 2007-2008 post-election violence, paying particular attention to the ongoing and yet-to-be fully implemented Restorative Justice Fund.

We hope this volume provides policymakers, practitioners, and academics a unique understanding of the critical tools needed to engender transitional justice mechanisms.

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