Journal Article

Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (TRCs): An International Human Rights Intervention and Its Connection to Social Work

David K. Androff

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 40, issue 6, pages 1960-1977
Published in print September 2010 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online December 2009 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcp139
Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (TRCs): An International Human Rights Intervention and Its Connection to Social Work

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Over the last quarter of a century, Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (TRCs) have grown in prevalence as a primary human rights intervention for post-conflict reconstruction. Building upon restorative justice theory, TRCs investigate past abuses, listen to the experiences of victims and perpetrators, and seek to repair the social fabric damaged by violence. TRCs constitute an unrecognised opportunity for social work to contribute to the welfare of communities recovering from violence. This paper introduces TRCs to social workers, highlights the relevance of TRCs to social work, identifies how social workers have engaged with TRCs in the past, sketches the history and core elements of TRCs, and addresses how social worker can improve TRCs. Social workers can contribute to TRCs by facilitating interviews and eliciting testimonials from victims of violence, lending their ethical commitments of self-determination and social justice, advocating at various levels of governmental and community groups, working in legal settings and with courts, practising cultural competence, promoting the work of reconciliation through dialogue and mediation, conducting social work research and emphasising the material welfare of victims by encouraging TRCs to address structural inequalities and include social development programs.

Keywords: Truth and Reconciliation Commissions; human rights; international social work; restorative justice

Journal Article.  6628 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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