Many ethnic and nationalist conflicts today are rooted in unresolved or unaddressed historical disputes and injustices. These events are frequently misinterpreted or manipulated to serve partisan political ends, often aggravating prejudice, hatred and destructive nationalist sentiments. They can also contribute to tensions and discord in multicultural societies both at the national and community level. The IHJR believes that in confronting and overcoming these distortions of historical reality, reconciliation, tolerance and understanding of “the other” can contribute toward laying the groundwork for stable peace.
The Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation (IHJR) was founded in the belief that addressing contentious or disputed historical legacies can promote understanding, tolerance and reconciliation in divided societies and contribute toward peacebuilding processes.
The IHJR engages respected scholars, public-opinion leaders, decisionmakers, and other stakeholders from diverse sides of a conflict to work together on multi-year projects designed to address contentious historical issues in a meaningful and impactful manner. To this end, the IHJR convenes conferences, seminars, and working groups, and disseminates its results in publications, exhibitions, public forums, and other forms of outreach.
What is Historical Justice?
The concept of Historical Justice refers to the collective sense on the part of a people or its representatives that historic wrongs have been appropriately and adequately addressed. Sources of historical injustice can include slavery, colonialism, political, social or economic oppression, violent or armed conflict, gross violations of human rights, and other transgressions. Historical justice can be achieved through measures such as public apologies, acknowledgment, commemoration or memorialization, and judicial processes. Material compensation is frequently part of these measures, and can include the payment of reparations, payment of punitive damages, and/or the restitution of land or other property.