For countries to move forward after conflict or mass atrocities suffering must be acknowledged and justice served the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet

Channel 1 Los Angeles

14 February 2020 UN

Michelle Bachelet was speaking during an open debate on the role of transitional justice—which includes mechanisms such as truth and reconciliation commissions—in building and sustaining peace.

“We know that lasting peace is interlinked with justice, development and respect for human rights. We know that peace does not automatically break out when weapons fall silent and atrocity crimes cease. To be able to rebuild lives — without fear of recurrence — and for society to move forward, suffering needs to be acknowledged; confidence in State institutions restored; and justice done,” she said, speaking from Geneva via teleconference.

In both her capacity as the UN rights chief, and as a citizen and former President of Chile, Ms. Bachelet has repeatedly witnessed what she described as “the transformative power of transitional justice”.

These processes have helped to address grievances and divisions, she said, adding that they are often “deeply empowering” for victims, particularly women, indigenous communities and marginalized minorities.

“I have just returned from a mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the recent UN-supported consultations in the Kasai region enabled many victims to express their views on truth, reconciliation, reparations, and the prevention of future conflict.  These consultations laid the groundwork for the establishment of a provincial Peace, Justice and Reconciliation Commission”, she said.

 

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