Photo: Aleppo, Syria 26-5-2012

Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

Impunity Watch in MENA 

What began as one project in 2014 grew into a full programme in 2016, when Impunity Watch expanded its work on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with a focus on Iraq, Syria, and Tunisia. In relations to these contexts, conflict has been profoundly damaging on social fabric and cohesion, while victims and survivors struggle to obtain recognition and to voice their needs. More often than not, it appeared that justice and accountability initiatives remained top-down, frequently led by external actors, leaving little space for grassroots organisations, affected communities, and victims to participate in such efforts or processes. Similarly, and often as a result of their exclusion from (transitional) justice initiatives, victims and affected groups have rarely been able to access or participate meaningfully in other concomitant or subsequent post-conflict processes that impact directly on their rights and wellbeing, including peacebuilding efforts, recovery and reconstruction processes, institutional reform, and prevention measures.

Our interventions thus focus primarily on enhancing the meaningful participation of victims and affected communities in (transitional) justice and accountability processes. Enhancing their participation in these processes lays the groundwork for their participation in other processes by increasing their political influence, equipping them with the necessary tools to participate in these processes, envisaging adequate participation mechanisms that can be replicated in other fields, and persuading policymakers of the significance of victim participation and the relevance of their role in justice and peace efforts.