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The WPS agenda: Transitional justice

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Written by Pilar Domingo

Transitional justice agendas are in the main, at least nominally, informed by an awareness that since conflict-related violence is experienced in gendered ways, they need to be gender-responsive. Transitional justice has also become a mainstream feature of transition processes from conflict or authoritarian rule. This is evident in how wider policy and normative frameworks relating to global peacebuilding and rule of law agendas have evolved. It remains a struggle, however, to ensure that gender-responsive transitional justice mandates and mechanisms are fully resourced, and that women’s groups and gender activists have access to and influence over the decision-making spaces where transitional justice is negotiated and defined, and its implementation monitored.

Ensuring that women have voice and influence in defining transitional justice mandates is an explicit objective of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. WPS work has the merit of being located across key policy spaces – national and international levels – where transitions from conflict and post-conflict reforms are negotiated and defined. This creates opportunities to support gender-responsive transitional justice in the context of wider WPS support to women’s access to decision-making processes relating to transitions from conflict. Politically strategic support involves making the most of the different levels at which negotiations may be taking place and through different channels of activism. This includes support to civil society activism, such as women’s and human rights organisations, feminist activists (including in public office) and supporting strategic alliances and coalitions at local, national and global levels. Where possible, ensuring that support efforts are integrated across different reform processes contributes to connecting transitional justice with the politics of wider peacebuilding work.

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