Transforming broken relationships: making peace with the past
Publication date: 
Accord issue: 
Insight 3
Graeme Simpson stresses the need to place reconciliation at the heart of political processes and transitions in conflict-affected or fragile societies. Reconciliation must be understood as transforming both horizontal relationships, between people and groups in society, and vertical relationships, between people and institutions.
This understanding has three strategic implications for policymakers and practitioners: that adopting binary strategies of 'bottom-up' or 'top-down' reconciliation is problematic; that reconciliation cannot simply be seen as a post-conflict activity divorced from other peacebuilding strategies; and that reconciliation should not be seen as synonymous with transitional justice and strategies for dealing with the past.