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The Politics of Acknowledgement: Truth Commissions in Uganda and Haiti
  • Joanna R. Quinn, Western University
Human rights violations leave deep scars on people, societies, and nations. Human rights advocates believe that resolving the violence of the past is a necessary condition for a peaceful future and have pushed for truth commissions as part of the healing process since the early 1990s. But how can nations ensure that these commissions are the best path to reconciliation? 

The Politics of Acknowledgement develops a theoretical framework of acknowledgement with which to explain and assess how instruments of transitional justice such as truth and reconciliation commissions should operate. Rather than applying this framework to successful tribunals, Joanna Quinn uses it to evaluate the difficulties encountered and the ultimate failure of truth commissions in two countries -- Uganda and Haiti. Analysis of these commissions reveals that if reconciliation is to be achieved, acknowledgement of past violence and harm -- by both victims and perpetrators -- must come before goals such as forgiveness, social trust, civic engagement, and social cohesion. 

This timely examination of poorly understood truth commissions in Uganda and Haiti illuminates the challenges that all truth commissions face in the transition from violence to peace.

  • truth commissions,
  • Uganda,
  • Haiti,
  • human rights
Publication Date
UBC Press
Citation Information
Joanna R. Quinn. The Politics of Acknowledgement: Truth Commissions in Uganda and Haiti. Vancouber(2010)
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