Justice and human rights
In the heat of conflict, when security breaks down, violence, human rights abuses, torture and unlawful arrests intensify. Youth militias, armed rebel groups and even the police carry out their own deadly justice on populations.
To combat this, we support local people to document and report on violations of rights and support those affected. Despite huge personal risks, these local activists approach those arrested without charge and negotiate for their release.
In countries emerging from conflict where justice structures are weak, unresolved grievances or disputes over scarce resources can escalate resulting in needless deaths and entrenched hatred and mistrust.
Here, in the midst of deadly tensions, trained local volunteers step in and work with people on the brink of violence to stop tensions spilling over and work for a peaceful solution.
Why it matters
Last year, for the first time in history, the crucial relationship between peace and justice was given worldwide recognition in Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG 16). This global goal aims to reduce all forms of violence, strengthen the rule of law and promote human rights.
Local people play a unique and crucial role in achieving this. Already on the ground, they can intervene quickly to stop abuses happening, or support those who have suffered. They are a highly effective force in the protection of human rights and the fight for justice.
We do not take sides in a conflict. But this does not mean we will not speak out when human rights are being violated. We are committed to supporting local people to stand up against human rights abuses, and ensuring everyone has access to fair, unbiased justice.
In 2015, we supported local activists to report on 3604 incidents of violence and human rights abuses in Burundi.
We supported the training of 186 police officers in Zimbabwe in non-violent policing techniques.
And we supported ten communities across South Kivu, DR Congo to set up traditional Peace Courts so grievances could be resolved and rights could be protected.
What we do
In Pakistan we support local peacebuilders to stand up for women’s rights in an area where violence against women is endemic and their rights rarely acknowledged. Led by two inspirational women, our local partner Aware Girls works with young men and women to teach them about their rights and encourage them to get involved in political processes.
In Burundi we support a network of local activists that monitors violence and human rights abuses and responds with swift and effective solutions. We circulate their reports to governments, journalists and UN representatives around the world ensuring knowledge from the heart of the conflict is shared with international decision makers.
In war-torn South Kivu, DR Congo, village disputes can quickly escalate into wider violence that feeds complex local conflicts. Official channels for resolving disputes are slow, expensive and corrupt, leaving many people to take justice into their own hands. In place of this, we support our partner FOCHI to run a network of village-level courts that offer free access to justice for a population of 70,000 people.
Zimbabwe has suffered from years of misrule, corruption and endemic violence. Our local partner, the Envision Zimbabwe Women’s Trust, has been working in Murewa and Hurungew districts since 2008 to address a deeply embedded culture of violence by training local traditional leaders and engaging the police force in conflict transformation.