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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Non-governmental organisations and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission: an impact assessment
Authors:Van der Merwe, HugoISNI
Dewhirst, Polly
Hamber, BrandonISNI
Periodical:Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
offences against human rights
commissions of inquiry
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02589349908705070
Abstract:The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) emerged as a major policy and legislative concern in the period after the first free and fair general elections in postapartheid South Africa (1994). Numerous NGOs engaged with the TRC in one form or another. This article discusses the interaction of these NGOs, particularly those operating in the field of peace and justice, and the TRC. It traces the process from the conceptualization and lobbying regarding the TRC legislation through to the conclusion of the TRC and examines the anticipated long-term consequences for NGOs. Twenty-six interviews were conducted between December 1997 and May 1998 with TRC and NGO staff. NGO staff interviewed categorized themselves as human rights NGOs, conflict resolution NGOs and mental health NGOs. The article shows that NGOs failed to effectively mobilize in response to the establishment of the TRC, and the TRC failed to draw effectively on existing resources embodied in the NGOs. Involvement by NGOs was limited mainly to those who had the existing capacity to engage with complex conceptual debates and in a complex legislative process. Similarly, the TRC did not go out of its way to accommodate NGO concerns in its operation. The TRC has laid a foundation for a process of reconciliation, but it has not engaged sufficiently the organs of civil society which are to carry on the long-term work of rebuilding society. Notes, ref., sum.