UN Special Rapporteur De Greiff report on Transitional Justice and Development A/68/354, 23 August 2013

Justice and development are far too often considered as different and independent goals, and continue to be addressed by a multiplicity of actors through different approaches. Justice is too often traded off against short-term economic development, or for the sake of ‘stability’. This contravenes clear legal obligations to fight impunity for human rights violations, and goes against a more robust understanding of sustainable human development. A limited and narrow approach to development, which ignores justice considerations, will not be human – insofar as it ignores fundamental aspirations for the sake of which people again and again show themselves ready to take great risks – nor is it sustainable. Goals and indicators in the post 2015 development agende should not foster the appearance of a development success story in societies where development is self-evidently undermined by large-scale deficits in security, justice and rights.

This report identifies three different ways in which human rights violations can hinder development; through a downward shift in preferences, through the depletion of trust or social capital, and through the undermining of capabilities. In contexts of gross human rights violations or serious violations of international humanitarian law, these are phenomena that affect not just direct victims but that ‘spill over’ from victims to society as a whole, therefore magnifying their negative developmental impact.

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