The Fight for Power

The Fight for Power

Para muchos de nosotros, el agua potable es tan abundante y fácilmente disponible, que rara vez, si alguna vez, hacemos una pausa para considerar cómo sería la vida sin ella.

When I began my quest as a change agent, and brand new to my site. Adjusting as an american would be a new challenge but was not has difficult as I imagined it to be. What hit more and bigger and became more difficult was my quest to adjust to the daily life style. Priding myself as being a chameleon, and adaptable, and being able to jump right in to go with the flow I didn’t stop to think how my new environment would alter my routine or the one I tried to create for myself I felt out of sync and discombobulated.

When it came time to relax in the evening… there were dishes pilled up and still had to prepare for class the next day, and also prepare water for a bath. At night time the water would shut off. But would return again in the early morning. Why? I was told that this was just the way it was. And slowly but surely I realized that I was doing something wrong…. I had to get a better routine. This was just one small minor adjustment to make in my day to day living in my new space, however, this was something my host family, and community had to live through each day. I was curious and wanted to learn more. Little did I know this would be bigger than I had anticipated and began to dig deeper. Here begins the quest in which on a few things I began to discover during my time here and quest for power… I mean water.

Going in a million different directions, my questions started with why. As I began to look at numbers and data. I found the diagnostics and WASH diagnostics and outcomes helpful but it didn’t answer why? How did these graphs and numbers come to be and what did they mean?

The following post will seek to explain the basis and limitations of transitional justice and the significance of fitting into the host countries complex history and present day trivialities from a theoretical perspective. Although, the United Nations already recommend comprehensive approaches to transitional justice that include economic, social, and cultural rights, they acknowledge that this touches upon an area of international law as well (UN, 2010: 10). As a result of these fairly new concepts that are important to explore, the limitations are yet to be defined.

Furthermore, there is still good reason for discussing and investigating a holistic approach to transitional justice as it seeks to consider the economic, social aspects in addition to the violations of civil and political rights closely linked to human rights abuses.(cite) This is controversial or problematic because through addressing such issues could result in a direct consequence or conflict with authoritarianism and those in power. Without addressing these complex ties it could result in ignoring the important aspects of injustices and perpetuating recurrence of similar conflict and abusive practices. However, the main objective of project to learn about the insights of the local people through their lived experiences and perspectives.  

Transitional Justice

Transitional Justice is defined as the the manner or processes in which a society attempts to come to terms with a legacy of large scale past abuses. There are five pillars in which a society can choose to do this include truth-seeking, accountability, memorilization, reparations, and reform. As a fairly new branching field scholars and practitioners began exploring the socio-economic dimensions of transitional justice only recently. 

Through the five pillars of transitional justice, truth commissions offer the possibility to identify the root cause of human rights and violations, reparations either a part of administration reparation programmes or as ordered by tribunals, could help repair some of the economic and social dimensions of conflict and repression. Reformations or institutional reform, the most important tool for transitional justice that looks at the root of such injustices and if understood in a holistic matter could help transform society (cite)  The second aim of the post will define examine the issues brought to light on the emerging debate of transitional justice. Primary lenses in which scholars use to better define the boundaries of transitional justice consist of economic crimes, economic policies, and structural violence and specific issues through the accounts of social justice issues.

Economic Policies

The potential relevance of economic policies in the context of transitional justice is mainly two-fold. On the first hand economic policies might be designed to support and sustain authoritarian regimes or conflict and war.

Through transitional justice economic policies might be designed to support and sustain authoritarian regimes or conflict and war. Secondly, oppressive regimes might be stated in order to make certain economic policies positive.

Another aspect of economic policies finding their way into the debate of transitional justice is the assessment of the economic legacy of authoritarian regimes + conflict ridden societies as a whole. Each case is different depending upon the context and history of the country.

Overall, including economic policies as an issue of transitional justice might serve the purpose of establishing a more comprehensive understanding of the causes of human rights violations and help to learn lessons from the past to create a just future.

Structural Violence

In order to defend the importance of addressing structural violence in transitional justice processes, scholars refer often to the adverse consequences of discriminating practices. While poverty could be the ground to claim that some economic social and cultural rights are violated systematically, it is rarely addressed once again due to the complexity of the situation.

Poverty is a relevant issue for transitional justice processes as it’s manifestations as a form of structural violence as violence built into the structure and shows up as unequal power and consequently unequal life chances with ethnicity, class, and gender. (Ho, 2007:4) With ethnicity, class, gender as some of the possible determinants of discrimination. An argument can be made that transitional justice mechanisms need to investigate structural violence as a tool of oppression and source of power of the regime (muvingi, 2009:181) To acknowledge adequately the suffering of victims of structural violence and their entitlement to equal realization of economic and social rights.

In addition to this, investigating these past injustices highlights necessary changes in the societal structures of a post-authoritarian regimes. Until the branch of law is more firmly established, scholars advocate truth commissions as the most appropriate framework to address structural violence. Structural violence as an issue for transitional justice is not as straightforward to deal with as economic crimes.

Economic Crimes 

Realpolitik -   is the German definition of politics based on practical interests and concrete actions without attending to theory or philosophy as policy-making elements. In which in the past of academic debates was considered a type of high level corruption in which large scale corruption and exploitation of a countries resources. And often it was even defended to have some functional role in the system of a developing nation. 

    Scholars note that in order to establish links of economic crimes, human rights, and transitional justice it will indeed result in harsh consequences and repercussions, however it is most necessary for a transition process to occur. 

     In addition to this it is important highlight the definitions of corruptions and exploitation and to what degrees this takes place. 

Contradictions of Transitional Justice

While there is still more research to be done in concern for the development of social and economic rights. There are few contradictions to this field of study and they are as follows:

1. Creating reliable record of past human rights abuses

2. Setting up a functional, professional bureaucracy and civil service

3. Helping Victims restructure and repair their lives

4. Stopping violence and consolidating stability

These are just few to consider, there is hope to look look at host countries history under these particular lenses and look at individual stories that have been brought to court in efforts to restore justice.

Sources: Eisikovits, Nir. “Transitional Justice.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford University, 4 Apr. 2014,

Transitional justice is, at its core, a way of addressing the past to ensure a better future. Stable, enduring peace can only be achieved by addressing the demands of justice and reconciliation in societies that have been affected by mass atrocity; victims must be recognized, both in what they experienced and as equal citizens, bearers of rights.

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