“Building Fair and Inclusive Societies after Conflict: A Focus on Civil Society”

"Civil society initiatives are being undertaken in a number of countries in transition to contribute to the building of sustainable peace processes. Recognising that governments may face challenges in terms of implementing capacity and political will, civil society networks in post-conflict countries are lobbying their governments on issues pertaining to transitional justice; these may include national and community healing and reconciliation, the setting up of truth-telling mechanisms, the integration of formal and traditional justice structures, post-conflict reparations, supporting institutional reform etc. Inclusiveness and transparency are fundamental to building effective transitional justice processes, and CSOs have the potential to play a pivotal role in enabling a conversation between governments on the one hand, and grass-roots communities on the other. The sustained media focus on the International Criminal Court often overshadows the multitude of home-grown justice and reconciliation initiatives being driven by local bodies. Civil society is uniquely placed to ensure that grassroots communities – which bear the brunt of exactions during conflict - are heard, adequately represented and kept informed of key developments in the transitional justice sphere. Networking at the local, national and international levels, civil society can also play a critical role in stimulating debate, fostering transparency and encouraging participation. This type of active representation through partnerships, umbrella organisations and networks is vital when dealing with the legacies of war and violence."