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Thousands took to the streets across Kenya on January 27 following the gruesome slaying of more than a dozen women to denounce violence against women and demand action to end it. Protesters later gathered in Nairobi on February 14 for a Valentine’s Day vigil for the more than 30 women murdered in the country so far this year and to pressure the government to declare femicide and violence against women a national emergency and to establish a commission to address these crimes and thereby break the cycle of impunity. These efforts are laudable, if not inspiring. However, physical and sexual violence against women and femicide—at times perpetrated by law enforcement officers who are meant to protect them, as enshrined in Kenya’s 2010 Constitution—has persisted in Kenya for decades.

ICTJ’s partner Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organization (AHRDO) recently opened a new virtual museum and database dedicated to Afghan victims of conflict and human rights abuses. “The Afghanistan Memory House” not only preserves the memory of these victims but helps pave the path for truth and justice. To launch the virtual museum, ICTJ and AHRDO cohosted a panel discussion on memorialization, moderated BBC journalist Lyse Doucet, in ICTJ’s office in New York this past December.

On November 28, 2023, ICTJ organized an international dialogue in Bogotá, Colombia, to share innovative strategies for advancing victims’ rights to redress for human rights abuses and for establishing more victim-centered development policies. The gathering also marked the official launch of ICTJ’s new report—Advancing Victims’ Rights and Rebuilding Just Communities Local Strategies for Achieving Reparation as a Part of Sustainable Development—which presents findings from a two-year comparative study of local efforts in Colombia, The Gambia, Tunisia, and Uganda to advance reparations.

In 2021, the Central African Republic created the Truth, Justice, Reparation and Reconciliation Commission (CVJRR) to establish the truth, pursue justice, and restore victims’ dignity, with a view to ultimately achieving national reconciliation. In this fragile country, battered by successive episodes of violence, justice, in its broadest sense, has always been and remains a lifelong demand of victims. After a lengthy operationalization phase, the CVJRR is now finally getting ready to start registering and hearing victims’ testimonies. The first step in this process is statement taking, which requires taking several key factors into account to be successful.

ICTJ is pleased to announce the winners of its “Overseas” writing contest. In it, young people originally from or currently residing in Lebanon, Libya, or Tunisia who have left their home countries for political or socioeconomic reasons were asked to share their personal experiences of migration in the form of a short, written testimony.

Throughout 2023, ICTJ’s experts have offered their unique perspective on breaking news around the globe as part of the World Report. Their insightful commentaries have brought into focus the impact these events have on victims of human right violations as well as larger struggles for peace and justice. In this edition, we look back on the past year through the Expert’s Choice column.

On October 25, the African Union (AU) and European Union officially launched their joint Initiative for Transitional Justice in Africa (ITJA) in Addis Ababa. The project will take place over a three-year period and will promote national transitional justice processes in Africa, in line with the AU Transitional Justice Policy and its roadmap. The ITJA has several unique features that, if embraced and advanced by all actors, have the potential to trailblaze a new and inspiring path to peace, justice, and sustainable development on the African continent.

On November 28, ICTJ hosted an international conference to explore the synergies between reparations and sustainable development in Bogotá, Colombia. The event, titled “Advancing Victims’ Rights and Rebuilding Just Communities: An International Dialogue on Reparations and Sustainable Development,” brought together ICTJ partners from The Gambia, Tunisia, and Uganda along with civil society and government representatives from Colombia to discuss local strategies for advancing reparations for human rights abuses and how repairing victims and affected communities can contribute to local and national development. On the occasion, ICTJ also launched a new research report on the topic.

ICTJ and the Consortium of Ethiopian Human Rights Organizations cohosted a national event to increase victims’ and civil society’s meaningful participation in Ethiopia’s transitional justice process. The event brought together Ethiopian government officials and policymakers, civil society representatives, members of the media, and international stakeholders to discuss strategies to ensure victims and gender-related concerns remain at the center of the efforts underway in the country to deal with recent and past violence and its consequences.

On October 15, the UN Secretary-General made two strong humanitarian appeals: for Hamas to release the hostages immediately and without conditions, and for Israel to allow humanitarian aid to enter into Gaza unimpeded so it can reach the civilians desperately in need of it. The UN Security Council has heard but not listened to his words, while governments with power to persuade the actors engaged in the hostilities to respect the rule of law have failed to do so. Yet, the moral imperative is clear and simple.