In countries emerging from violence, official channels for defending justice and human rights, and resolving disputes can be slow, expensive and corrupt.
Often, people are left to take justice into their own hands.
Local activists are working hard to provide an alternative: monitoring and reporting human rights abuses at the onset of unrest so that widespread violence can be prevented. They speak out against human rights abuses, secure the release of people wrongly arrested, and take action to stop local conflicts escalating. This means the people they live and work amongst do not have to live in fear of a knock at the door.
The relationship between human rights and peacebuilding has been increasingly recognised in recent years. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development explicitly combines the promotion of peaceful, just and inclusive societies in Goal 16, and the United Nations Human Rights Council acknowledged the crucial relationship between human rights and peacebuilding specifically for the first time in 2017. Human rights violations repeatedly occur during episodes of violent conflict, and a continued denial or refusal of rights can often be a cause of violence of unrest.
Given the overlapping aims and activities, is important that both peacebuilders and those working in the field of human rights look at ways to better coordinate their efforts and work together.