Transnational Truth? Telling The Truth From Abroad : Diasporas Engagement in Truth and Reconciliation Commissions

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för freds- och konfliktforskning


Diasporas have been regarded as either peace-makers or peace-wreckers in relation to their homeland conflicts. During the last decade there has been growing attention to the economic remittances migrants send home an the positive impact it can make in the post-conflict reconstruction phase. However, little attention has been directed to the political remittances; i.e, the ideas, norms and practices that they send home to the war torn homelands. This thesis looks at the exchanges of ideas from diasporas during the transitional phase, particularly in the truth commissions and asks: is the participation of diasporas in truth and reconciliation commissions beneficial for the national reconciliation? I look at the case of Liberia and conduct a structured focused comparison with Sierra Leone, whose commission did not have a diaspora component. The findings suggest a moderate support to the theory that diasporas can be beneficial to national reconciliation. The findings suggest that they can help raising the level of acknowledgement of the victims' rights, particularly the accountability element. However, the empirical evidence also points to the powerful influence that a critical mass outside of the truth commission can have on its outcome, the final report, and that participating as a victim from abroad does not necessarily guarantee rights at home.

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