Gender and Reparations: Seeking Transformative Justice


Jones, Emily. 2020. "Gender and Reparations: Seeking Transformative Justice." In Reparations for Victims of Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity, edited by Carla Ferstman and Mariana Goetz, 86-118. Leiden: Brill Nijhoff.

Author: Emily Jones


"In response to concerns around often returning people to situations of inequality through the way reparations are currently applied, there have been multiple calls for and attempts to implement more transformative forms of reparations, i.e. reparations which seek to address and subvert pre-existing unequal and discriminatory structures. Section two of this chapter outlines some of these responses, focusing on transformative reparations both as an essential framing of reparations from a gender perspective as well as an area in which further gender analysis could be pursued to great gain. However, since transformative reparations are largely undefined, how and whether such reparations have been taken up, or not, depends on one's perspective on what transformative reparations exactly entail. Section three therefore draws on feminist work as a way through which to provide an analysis of what transformative reparations could and have included. I then go on, in section four, to analyse some specific examples of reparations that have been used to challenge pre-existing structural inequalities, focusing on the Cotton Fields judgment at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR), and outlining the gender literature on reparations programmes. I argue that further and more radical transformative reparations are needed. Such reparations, it is posed, are possibly best implemented through guarantees of non-repetition.
Drawing on the examples given in sections three and four, section five outlines some possible ways in which gender-just transformative reparations can be developed further. One way that transformative reparations could be and to some extent have been applied is through communal reparations such as education, training and housing programmes seeking to challenge and change oppressive structures in society. I argue that there is a need for reparations in these forms to be applied more often and their reach to be extended both in terms of what they offer and who is included. The need for a greater recognition of the currently often marginalised framework of economic and social rights is also noted, arguing for the further integration of these rights into reparatios frameworks. I then go on to note the need for intersectional analyses within the field of transformative reparations. Such analyses are required to ensure that transformative reparations can properly understand and take full account of the various harms many people face due to discrimination, structural inequality and oppression.
The final section of this chapter analyses the limited of the field of gender and transformative reparations by drawing on other critical approaches to international law which have been little applied to this area, including post-colonial feminist analyses. Noting that reparations are a secondarily applied right granted in response to a primary rights violation, the limits of the human rights framework in being able to provide transformative justice is questioned. I conclude by arguing that further critical engagement is essential both in order to frame reparations in truly transformative ways as well as to understand the limits of the transformative project and, subsequently, of human rights law, in being able to provide transformation." (Jones 2020, 86-7)

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Education, Feminisms, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Law, International Human Rights, Intersectionality, Justice, Reparations, Rights, Human Rights

Year: 2020

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