Sierra Leone — The United Nations Institute for Democracy and Electoral Help (IDEA) defines post-conflict reconciliation as, “the method of addressing the legacy of previous violence and rebuilding the damaged relationships it has precipitated.” Briefly, reconciliation is the means by which a rustic turns into self-aware of the injury brought on by battle, and internally reconstructs its personal society. Put up-conflict reconciliation in Sierra Leone is an instance of a profitable course of.
Functionalist anthropologists view reconciliation as a dynamic social course of, implying the reintegration of people right into a group they left behind. In addition they imagine that reconciliation can not succeed by forceful implementation. It should come from the folks impacted by the battle. Reconciliation in Sierra Leone was a grassroots course of led by the civilians who had been impacted by battle. It helped bridge the hole between two formally conflicting teams throughout the nation.
Origins of the Battle
Sierra Leone has an extended historical past of battle and corruption stemming from the management of diamonds within the nation. Diamonds are the nation’s most outstanding pure useful resource. They had been known as “battle diamonds” due to the extent of battle they’ve precipitated in Sierra Leone. The start of the civil battle may be traced to Joseph Momoh’s rise to energy in 1985. That very same 12 months, unlawful diamond mining grew considerably. Momoh got here to workplace promising the elimination of diamond smuggling, authorities corruption and abuse of energy.
Momoh fell in need of his guarantees since corruption was nonetheless widespread all through the nation and the financial system was nonetheless deteriorating. His reputation with the folks declined tremendously as many misplaced their religion in his capacity to rule a nation. As a consequence of weak management, the Revolutionary United Entrance (RUF), backed by Charles Taylor’s Nationwide Patriotic Entrance of Liberia (NPFL), gained help. The RUF funded their wartime weapons and provides by unlawful diamond gross sales. RUF reaped the income of roughly $70 million price of diamonds from 1999 to 2001.
The battle lasted from March 1991 to January 2003. It left an estimated 70,000 lifeless and greater than 1,000,000 displaced from their properties. After the battle, Sierra Leonean society was confronted with a troublesome query: How do the victims and perpetrators proceed to coexist? In response to this query, native civil society organizations, governmental packages and cultural traditions got here collectively to reconstruct their society.
The native non-profit group Fambul Tok performed an enormous function in advancing reconciliation in Sierra Leone. Its goal was to carry collectively perpetrators and victims of the civil battle by rituals that draw from native indigenous traditions. Fambul Tok (that means Household Speak) is a grassroots group constructed on the custom of discussing and resolving points in a well-known, safe setting. The ceremony takes place round a bonfire the place victims and perpetrators meet to debate wartime occasions.
Fambul Tok views reconciliation a lot in the identical method as functionalists do. Its method originates from the idea that profitable reconciliation can’t be imposed by exterior sources that don’t perceive the tradition or traditions of a society. Reconciliation in Sierra Leone should come from inside, implying a technique that takes under consideration the impression on native cultures, ethnicities and folks. Inside reconciliation encourages native communities to understand that they’ve the ability inside themselves to return to a completely functioning society.
When the perpetrators and victims meet, they have to acknowledge the completely different sides of the battle. Either side come from extraordinarily completely different backgrounds and their tales differ drastically relying on what facet of the battle they had been on. When two beforehand conflicting sides meet in a peaceable setting, they’re compelled to understand that there are completely different views in battle. This discourages blaming and encourages a peaceable understanding that aids both sides in transferring on. The method of reconciliation utilized by Fambul Tok is made up of 5 steps: consultations, implementation, coaching, the reconciliation ceremony and follow-up actions.
Success of Reconciliation in Sierra Leone
The community-oriented methodology carried out by Fambul Tok is a part of why Sierra Leone has had one of the crucial profitable social reconciliations. The packages utilized by Fambul Tok have led to a rise in social connectivity and group. Fambul Tok has additionally efficiently elevated belief between victims and perpetrators in addition to reintegrated ex-combatants into their authentic communities.
The story of reconciliation in Sierra Leone is essentially the most profitable reconciliation motion up to now. The division between perpetrators and victims has been mended. All battle regarding the civil battle has ceased. That is all because of organizations resembling Fambul Tok which have carried out grassroots packages with a view to carry peace to Sierra Leone.
Grassroots peace processes are a type of empowerment. Empowering nations to hunt peace and to reconcile the battle inside their societies is a big step in not solely resolving their conflicts but additionally in stopping future ones. Sierra Leone’s post-conflict reconciliation gives a profitable technique upon which different nations can draw.
– Laura Phillips-Alvarez