Funding Transitional Justice
Transitional Justice (TJ) includes a range of initiatives that states and societies take in order to address past systematic or massive human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law. Donors face specific challenges in funding TJ: from the fact that TJ is often a long-term, multigenerational issue, to the fact that the term “transitional justice” does not usually figure in donor governments’ policies or internal guidance. This site is designed primarily for donors—at embassy level and in ministries and development agencies—who are interested in supporting TJ initiatives.
When Is This Useful?
This guidance should be useful at any stage of a TJ process—including (and especially) before it begins. It is designed so that staff in embassies, ministries of foreign affairs, and development agencies can draw on it to shape decision-making processes and to develop documents like country background reports, requests for funding proposals (RFPs), or policy guidance. There are a range of scenarios in which this report might prove immediately useful:
- There is ongoing conflict in a country, with widespread human rights abuse
- A country is experiencing a transition away from repressive rule
- A country is in a peacebuilding phase or is in the process of concluding and/or implementing a peace agreement
- A country has been punctuated by periods of state-led violence/repression
- Stakeholders within a country are reopening issues related to a period of past repression, including colonial repression
Include civil society
Most funding for TJ goes to state or UN bodies; in many countries, civil society actors are woefully underfunded and excluded from initial strategy setting, which may have negative effects on the local ownership and legitimacy of a TJ process and its potential for fostering social change.
Put victims at the center
The needs of victims—usually among the most vulnerable and marginalized people in a country—may remain invisible or may fit uneasily into donor paradigms; indeed, donor approaches to TJ often focus on measures like prosecutions that primarily focus on perpetrators rather than victims.
Strong civil society actors create and leverage their national and international networks to achieve change. Yet human rights actors may lack robust networks with social actors outside the human rights NGO sphere, including youth actors, which limits their ability to have a broader social impact.
Act in solidarity
Civil society actors often value the political pressure that other governments put on their own government to implement TJ measures, perhaps as much as or more than they value funding; such solidarity often gives a powerful boost to civil society strategies advocating for institutional change.