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Human Rights Capacity-building, Conflict and Positive Peacebuildingi

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Through analysis of the relationship between human rights capacity-building or education (HRE), conflict/post-conflict contexts, and peacebuilding, this article presents a framework for the conception of HRE as a multi-faceted tool that can serve as a key component of transitional processes.

Conflicts have devastating impacts on the realization of human rights. Rights abuses can be causes of conflict and dividers that perpetuate violence and inhibit peacebuilding. To disrupt this devastating cycle, it is necessary to respond to the violations that occur and the conditions in which they occur. HRE can help address these needs in at least three ways. First, HRE is itself a valuable programmatic tool that can promote the realization of human rights ‐ a constitutive element of a positive peace. Second, just as rights violations are dividers, the realization of rights can be a valuable connector that facilitates conflict resolution, development, reconciliation, and other processes contributing to a positive peace. Third, capacities developed through HRE and the educational process itself can contribute to other peacebuilding activities. In short, both the aim and means of HRE can advance a transition to positive peace.

After detailing the rationale summarized above, the paper discusses first how HRE can enhance capacities for rights promotion and rights-based approaches essential to the peacebuilding process. It then explores how HRE can contribute to the critical processes of conflict resolution and transitional justice.

Keywords: conflict resolution; development; participation; peacebuilding; personal integrity rights; positive peace; reconciliation; right to education; rights-based approaches; transitional justice

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2015

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  • Political Crossroads is a bi-annual, international, refereed journal which, since 1990, publishes critical and empirical scholarship in political science and international relations. Its areas of focus include global security, terrorism, national identity, migration and citizenship, and the politics of resources and trade.
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