Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Working Paper - UNICEF Innocenti WP
Title Child Participation in the Sierra Leone Truth & Reconciliation Commission: Considering the Broader Cultural Context
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
URL http://www.unicef-irc.org/files/documents/d-3676-Child-Participation-in-th.pdf
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in Sierra Leone was ground-breaking as a model of child participation in transitional justice processes, specifically mandating special attention to the articulation of children’s experiences and establishing procedures to address their needs. Yet, while the involvement of children in the TRC was considered to be a positive model to engage children, the understanding of children’s experiences and the impact of their involvement remains largely unexplored. Furthermore limited consideration has been given to understand how the rights of children are respected and their protective and developmental needs realized within a nation trying to rebuild from years of intense conflict, and re-establish dignity, belonging, and justice. Adopting a participatory research approach with young people, their communities and civil society in Sierra Leone, this paper sheds light on the positive and negative experiences of children involved in the TRC, and considers social perceptions of child participation in the TRC and within the evolving context of societal rebuilding in Sierra Leone. Documenting and reflecting on good practices and lessons learned from the Sierra Leone experience, the paper also identifies strategies to improve and support the role of children and young people as active agents of change specifically emphasizing the importance of creating safe, supportive environments based on mutual understanding and trust, where children, families, communities, civil society and government can collectively draw on the diverse network of societal strengths (individual, collective, cultural, and spiritual) to support and protect the well-being of children, and foster positive opportunities for children and their communities to safely engage as active citizens in transitional justice and peace building processes and beyond.

Related studies