The Armed Conflict Resolution and People’s Rights Project is housed at the University of California at Berkeley, at the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership at the Haas School of Business. This Project focuses on two different situations--internal armed conflict and mass social violence--to define steps in reparatory and transitional justice. Through study and capacity building, we contend with the condition of violence and the contested terrain of human rights, seeking to: Understand how people live with long-term suffering and ameliorate its effects; Define mechanisms for reparatory justice and psychosocial healing; Create an archive of artifacts to assist in the work of memorialization; and Identify opportunities for change.
Scope: The Project is currently focused on South Asia. Armed conflict and social violence are extensive in several parts there and India serves as a case in point. The regions of Manipur, Jammu & Kashmir, and Chhattisgarh are differently but persistently affected by internal conflict, with conflict-related issues intermittently occurring in Punjab. Areas such as Gujarat and Odisha have been impacted by social and sectarian violence on minority communities in recent history.
Such aggression has fractured social relations in postcolonial India with far-reaching human impact and a disruptive effect on national, regional, and global security. Such aggression is spurred by a myriad of issues including cultural and communal identity, religionization and minoritization, self-determination, and economic empowerment. These situations endanger people’s rights and pose humanitarian crises. They particularly affect civilian populations—especially children, youth, women, and minorities, and undercut the ethos of pluralism and openness to difference that defines Indian democracy. The National Human Rights Commission of India, in its submission to the UN Human Rights Council for India’s Second Universal Periodic Review (2008), stated: “There are inordinate delays in the provision of justice...There is still no national action plan for human rights.” This remains true today.
Premise: Interdisciplinary in practice and rooted in local knowledge, the Project is working with a Collaborative Network of victims-survivors and civil society partners in India, scholars and experts, and regional and international academic and advocacy institutions, to develop two rights-based and inter-related outputs--a Policy framework and technical Protocols (blueprints of steps for accountability) that address the issues posed by internal armed conflict and mass social violence, and generate possibilities for redress and restitution.
The relevance of this Project lies in the fact that nothing close to a policy and protocol framework currently exist in India for protecting people’s rights in armed conflict and mass social violence that is consistent with India’s legal, ethical, and constitutional obligations. If such a policy framework is adopted in India, and appropriate technical protocols are implemented with the aid and participation of civil society and affected populations, it would serve as a model for other countries in the region and elsewhere.
In the development of the Policy and Protocols, the Project will focus on issues of access to justice and accountability; governance, nonviolence, and the rule of law; and people’s rights and humanitarian considerations during and after conflict and mass violence; as well as multi-sector approaches, including involving education technology and social enterprise, toward inclusive development.
The Policy will propose actions with long-term goals of justice and stability across the country.
Protocols - blueprints of standards and steps for accountability and reparation--will be specific to the issues presented by the various thematic and spatial areas in focus, including:
Diverse engagements: Drawing on diverse imaginations of rights and justice in local, customary, and comparative contexts, the Project engages those affected by conflict and mass violence to identify frameworks and mechanisms for redress, and facilitate remembrance. The Project is involving affected communities, progressive civil society and the next generation in India, the Diaspora, and allies in cross-cultural dialogue, and will periodically interact with Indian parliamentarians. The Project avoids taking positions on political questions.
Students: The Project provides internship opportunities for exceptional graduate students and select undergraduate students from UC Berkeley, Stanford University, other institutions, and from impacted communities in India and the Indian Diaspora in the U.S. The Project will engage age-appropriate youth from affected communities in the work of documenting remembrance, and creating an archive and web-based installations.
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