Painting by Pascal Bushayija
In this section:
Committee on Human Rights of Parliamentarians
Taking a stance on human rights issues
Parliamentary work on human rights
Reconciliation in post-conflict situations
Partnerships and instruments
Related sections:
Promoting democracy
Partnership between men and women
Cooperation with the UN
Peace and security
Sustainable development
What is the IPU?


  Setting the course for reconciliation
  in post-conflict situations

There are many post-conflict situations in which the country's parliament no longer exists. Even when it is still in place, the parliament may be seriously weakened in its capacity to respond to the daunting challenges of reconciliation. Such difficulties should never be underestimated. Yet, the presence of an effective parliament is vital to the success of any transition from conflict to peace. The existence of a parliament which is truly representative of all components of society, and which offers a national platform for a free and open exchange of views, is in itself an important sign that reconciliation is under way. It is also an important factor in consolidating the reconciliation process.

Over the last years, the IPU has been increasingly involved in strengthening, from a human rights angle, the contribution that parliaments can make to reconciliation:

red cube In February 2004, the IPU sponsored a seminar entitled Conflicts: Prevention, Resolution, Reconciliation which was organized by the Spanish Committee of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other organizations. Parliamentarians from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, El Salvador, Peru, the Russian Federation, Rwanda and South Africa took part in the event. This was the last seminar in a series of five events which aimed to provide input for the Barcelona Forum, Conflicts: Prevention, Resolution and Reconciliation, held in June 2004.
red cube In 2005, together with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), the IPU produced a guide book which provides insights into the role played by parliaments in coming to terms with the legacy of abuse that so often marks sustained periods of internal strife. The guide book presents the advantages, drawbacks and the sometimes conflicting nature of transitional justice mechanisms such as truth commissions, reparation programmes, trials and justice reforms. It also provides a number of innovative examples of transitional justice experiences and concrete suggestions for parliamentarians. A copy of the guide book can be ordered on-line.
red cube In order to raise awareness about the role of parliaments in the field of transitional justice and put the recommendations of the handbook to the test, the IPU and International IDEA organized, at the invitation of the Parliament of Burundi, a seminar in Bujumbura, from 7 to 9 November 2005, for parliamentarians from Africa, a region particularly scarred by internal conflict. More detailed information about the Seminar is available on a special page of this site.