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New York, December 10, 2021— In contexts such as Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Iraq, Somalia, and Syria, hundreds, sometimes thousands, of individuals have crossed national borders to engage in violent conflicts in which serious human rights violations and mass atrocities have been committed...

When reflecting on peace agreements and their implementation, it is tempting to begin by saying that these processes are generally slow and complex. While that may be true in many contexts, it contributes little to the discussion about what has happened in Colombia since the government signed a final peace deal in November 2016 with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC-EP—the oldest and largest guerrilla group in the county—that ostensibly ended 50 years of war.

Six years of unrelenting war in Yemen has created what the United Nations has called the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis. Rubbing salt in the wound, members of the UN Human Rights Council rejected a resolution to renew the mandate of the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen, a body investigating serious human rights violations. The council’s decision is a serious blow to accountability in the country.

The Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission held its first public hearing in Cumberland, Allegany County, Maryland, on October 2, 2021. The event, broadcast live from Emmanuel Episcopal Church, brought together commissioners, panelists, and guests to acknowledge and memorialize the tragic lynching of 18-year-old Robert Hughes (aka William Burns) in Cumberland in 1907. In the coming months, the commission will convene several more of these public hearings in counties across the state of Maryland.

Afghanistan is a tragic example of how a country in transition can dramatically reverse course on the arduous path toward peace and democracy and return to an abyss of violence and repression at breakneck speed. In the span of a few short weeks, the Taliban regained control over the country. When they finally entered Kabul, the internationally backed Afghan government collapsed. Now in charge, the Taliban has lost no time in demonstrating their goal to re-impose the same extremist and oppressive rule, despite initial declarations affirming a commitment to peace and human rights.

Expectations for advancing much-needed justice and dismantling state and non-state criminal networks that persistently violate human rights have been dashed over the past three years in Mexico. Violence and impunity have increased. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's campaign promises have not materialized in a serious effort to address the lack of security in the country or the justice system’s inefficiency. However, several efforts have persisted, characterized by cooperation among state institutions, civil society, and victims’ groups that not only give hope, but confirm the way forward.

As part of its ongoing support of the Committee of the Families of the Kidnapped and Disappeared in Lebanon, ICTJ organized a three-day virtual workshop on transitional justice for university students on July 12-14, 2021. The students all served as volunteers on a project to establish an archive of the committee’s work and activism over the past four decades and participated in a previous workshop in February 2020 that introduced them to transitional justice concepts.

Hailed as one of the only success stories to emerge out of the Arab Spring, Tunisia is now facing a significant challenge to its democratic progress. On July 25, Tunisia’s president, Kais Saied, enacted Article 80 of the Tunisia Constitution giving him emergency powers to protect the country from imminent threats. He then used these powers to suspend parliament, lift parliamentary immunity, and fire the prime minister as well as the ministers of justice and defense.

Alonso Ojeda Awad and Medardo Correa joined Colombia’s notorious leftist guerrilla group the National Liberation Army (ELN) in their youth. After fighting with the group for several years, they and a handful of other ELN members demobilized voluntarily in the 1980’s. But it was not until 2019 that they were able to sit down with former members of paramilitary groups to discuss acknowledgment and responsibility for past crimes, reparation, and the importance of non-recurrence.

On July 13, 2021, the Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) presented an award to ICTJ for its sustained support of the commission and its commitment to the country’s transitional justice process. The award comes as the TRRC concludes its work and prepares to submit its final report to the country’s president by September 30, 2021.