Political Reconciliation Philpott Summary

1328 Words 5 Pages
Charlotte Leis
Political Reconciliation In his book, Just and Unjust Peace, Daniel Philpott argues that “reconciliation is the restoration of right relationship” and that political reconciliation “concerns the right relationship within the political realm — where the goal is respected citizenship defined by human rights, the rule of law within political communities, and respect for international law between political communities.” (Philpott, pg. 58). His idea of the “right relationship”, however, relies in part on the traditions of Abrahamic religions. A more general, secular definition of political reconciliation comes from combining the ideas of Laura Graham and David Bloomfield: political reconciliation is a “forward-looking and backward-looking”
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Examples of socially just intuitions include “a non-partisan judiciary, an effective civil service and an appropriate legislative structure” (Bloomfield, pg. 21). Philpott argues that because “political reconciliation is a form of justice”, that “building socially just institutions is [an] entirely fitting…” part of the process (Philpott, pg. 176). Building such institutions after a government has violated the rights of its citizens “redresses…the lack of respect and legal guarantee for human rights” that citizens generally expect from their government, but lose when their rights are violated (Philpott, pg. 176). By building institutions that protect human rights, the government is showing that they are trying to make concrete changes to prevent injustices from reoccurring. This method is especially important when the government is the perpetrator group. When these institutions are created in conjunction with the perpetrators’ and/or government’s acknowledgment of injustices, they allow a society to move forward from the past. Taken together, the acknowledgment of the past and the building of new institutions show a commitment to justice and thus allows reconciliation to occur. In this way, socially just institutions can also keep a society more peaceful because they promote and protect human rights and thus ideally reduce some of the …show more content…
This can lead to conflict over what standards of human rights to adopt while rebuilding institutions. For example, a “socially just” institution in Afghanistan or another Middle Eastern country might not include “religious freedom and the rights of women” despite those rights being essential in “international human rights conventions” and typical for many Western countries (Philpott, pg. 178). Reconciliation and justice are not absolute things – there can be more or less of each in every situation. Not meeting international standards of human rights does not mean that reconciliation and justice are absent, it simply means that there is less justice and thus less potential reconciliation. But less justice is still better than no justice; despite the possible issues with attempting to build socially just institutions, they are still a valuable part of achieving justice even when they are not doing as much as some might

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