“We were like caged birds, this gave us wings to fly”: A review of UN Women programming on gender-sensitive transitional justice

While transitional justice is recognized as an essential tool for overcoming past violence and moving toward sustaining peace, transitional justice processes have too often left women and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence behind. UN Women, with its mandate to address gender inequality and empower women, is committed to supporting transitional justice processes to include women at all stages and levels of decision-making, and to holistically address the full range of human rights violations to transform gender inequality.

This report examines UN Women’s experiences implementing a global programme on gender-sensitive transitional justice (2015–2018), funded by the European Union. The report reflects on the programme’s outcomes and shares the strategies used to adapt to challenging circumstances. It shares strategies employed to increase the gender-responsiveness of transitional justice mechanisms, and to adequately respond to sexual and gender-based violence and other gendered impacts of violent conflict and repressive regimes.

First, the report provides a brief introduction to gender-sensitive transitional justice. Then, the report shares an overview of UN Women’s gender-sensitive transitional justice programme and its activities and summarizes the outcomes of a global workshop of the project held in Pristina, Kosovo (under UNSCR 1244), 9 to 11 October 2018. The report also showcases four case studies from Colombia, Kosovo, the Philippines, and Nepal, sharing the innovative strategies employed by UN Women and programme partners to advance gender-sensitive transitional justice and overcome obstacles in their respective contexts. The report concludes with an outlook on potential future programming on gender-sensitive transitional justice, and recommendations for UN Women’s engagement in this area.

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