Gender-Transformative Transitional Justice

We have been working on gender issues since 2011, conducting comparative research on how to strengthen women’s participation in transitional justice and providing advice on relevant policy formulation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, and Guatemala. Building upon previous experience, we have moved beyond an exclusive focus on sexual and/or gender-based violence (SGBV), and as a strategic priority for the period 2017-2021, we now pursue a gender transformative approach to transitional justice.

 

It is well established that women and girls, men and boys, experience conflict and its aftermath differently which necessitates addressing their needs respectively. Conflict-related sexual violence against women receives predominant attention. However, this should not undermine/overshadow the broader human rights violations affecting women in conflict. Moreover, women are not mere victims. In fact, their voices can be powerful instigators of societal change. A gender transformative approach deals with the impact of gender inequalities and SGBV on women’s lives, and more importantly sheds light on the underlying causes of these inequalities. These may include, for example, the existence of hegemonic masculinities, social stereotypes, and gender discrimination. As such, our approach aims at conceiving more sustainable results by transforming the inequitable power structures that encourage severe gender inequality and that favour impunity, intimation, and corruption. We work on engaging researchers and practitioners to examine the connection between hegemonic masculinities and past and ongoing abuse, violence and exclusion, to demonstrate that alternative expressions of masculinity or gender can help foster just and peaceful societies in post-conflict periods.

Our priority is to ensure that transitional justice stakeholders take into account how men and women experience differently the socio-economic and ethnic impact of conflict, displacement and peacebuilding. We also prioritise improving access and meaningful participation of women and girls in transitional justice processes, as well as guaranteeing the non-repetition of violence against women by addressing its root causes.  

Our programmes and activities include: evidence-based and influential comparative research; exploring the relation of masculinities to transitional justice at the individual, community and institutional levels; community and institutional dialogues on gender norms, gender-based violence, women’s and men’s participation and dominant masculinities; and monitoring activities to strengthen the implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions, such as UNSCR 1325, and other gender justice norms. We also provide technical support to key judicial cases on conflict-related violence against women. In addition, we seek to advance gender transformative approaches to transitional justice through targeted advocacy at the UN Human Rights Council, UN Security Council, and the African Union.