Tag Archives: Latin America

Mexico: The government integrates the Mayan Train in the program Promotion of the Culture of Peace and Reconstruction of the Social Fabric


An article from Polìtico MX

The Ministry of the Interior (Segob), has reached an agreement with the Undersecretariat of Democratic Development, Social Participation and Religious Affairs, and the National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism (Fonatur) for the integration of 13 municipalities on the route of Mayan Train in the program Promotion of the Culture of Peace and the Reconstruction of the Social Fabric.

Editor’s note: But the route is being contested by some of the indigenous communties that will be displaced.

The project reinforces the indigenous consultation process, according to the agency’s statement. In this way, it seeks to guarantee a state of well-being and security in the communities that are part of the development plan.

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(Click here for the Spanish version)

Questions related to this article:
How can tourism promote a culture of peace?

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Segob explained that among the municipalities that are integrated into the program are:

Quintana Roo: Isla Mujeres, Benito Juárez, Solidaridad, Tulum, Felipe Carrillo Puerto

Tabasco: Tenosique, Balancán

Campeche: Candelaria, Escárcega

Yucatan: Mérida, Maxcanú, Valladolid,

Chiapas: Palenque

The program for the Promotion of the Culture of Peace and the Reconstruction of the Social Fabric seeks to promote actions among local communities, municipalities, and the Government of Mexico to meet the 2030 sustainable development objectives, specifically those that refer to the reduction of inequalities; generation of spaces for equality and eradication of gender violence, as well as guaranteeing peace, security and justice to the communities.

Segob and Fonatur carried out a work tour in the last months of 2021, holding meetings with the municipal presidents to explain the program and to establish actions to coordinate their collaborative work.

Dominican Republic: 11 Thousand People Train in Conflict Resolution and Culture of Peace in 2021


An article in El Nuevo Diario

The National Conflict Resolution System (Sinarec), reported this Tuesday (January 4) that in the past year 2021 it trained more than 11 thousand people in its citizen education programs for alternative conflict resolution and culture of peace. The programs are aimed at community leaders, members of the Public Ministry and administrative personnel of the public prosecutor’s offices of the country and abroad.

Sinarec highlighted that the trainings consisted of workshops, discussions, conferences, round tables, diplomas and specialized courses in mediation, alternative conflict resolution, culture of peace, human rights and non-violent communication, among other methods of violence reduction. .

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(click here for the original version in Spanish).

Question for this article:

Mediation as a tool for nonviolence and culture of peace

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It was indicated that these preventive actions served as an extension to the daily work of Sinarec, which mediates between parties in conflict, providing guidance and support to reach agreements that avoid the need for judicial prosecution.

Sinarec added that during the year just ended, the mediators received hundreds of citizens and achieved peaceful resolutions in 90% of the cases.

In a statement, it was pointed out that these services are permanently available at the agency’s headquarters, located at 237 Barney Morgan Street, in the Luperón expansion, under rigorous measures. of biosafety and with the participation of personnel trained in mediation.

The director of Sinarec, Petronila Rosario Adames, explained that with the endorsement of the Institute of Higher Education National School of the Public Ministry, 78 members of the career of the Dominican and Chilean Public Ministry participated virtually and completed the diploma in Conflict Management and Mediation .

She added that participants included 315 professional members of the Dominican Association of Psychology (Asodopsi), the Integral Ethnic Foundation (Lafei), Dominican Association of Teachers (ADP), members of the National Police, community and ecclesiastical leaders.

Rosario Adames emphasized especially the Youth Mediation and Restorative Practices course, taught to 45 adolescents inmates at the Comprehensive Care Center for Adolescents in Conflicts with the Criminal Law (CAIPACLP), in Manoguayabo, where there was a positive change in the behavior of the participants after receiving training in peer mediation.

Colombia: Forum in the Valle del Cauca commemorates the five years of the signing of the Peace Agreement


An article from Government of Valle del Cauca

On November 23, 2021, the Secretariat for Territorial Peace and Reconciliation of the Government of Valle del Cauca, in its mission to promote spaces for reconciliation between the various actors of the armed conflict and generate a culture of sustainable peace, held the forum “Towards a Colombian countryside”. The forum looked at the Final Peace Agreement from the perspective from Valle del Cauca, five years after the signing of the Final Agreement. The Forum was held in alliance with the Truth Commission, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), the ConPaz de la Pastoral program Social – Cáritas Colombiana, the Tuluá Mayor’s Office, the national initiative Tejiendo un Acuerdo para la Vida and the Central Unit of Valle del Cauca (Uceva).

Questions related to this article:

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

The event allowed the active participation of farmers, peasants, victims of the armed conflict, the reincorporated population and members of civil society.

An interdisciplinary and inter-institutional environment was fostered, allowing the exchange of knowledge regarding the implementation of Point 1 of the Final Agreement for the Termination of the Conflict and the Construction of a Stable and Lasting Peace, five years after its signature.

With this review of the event, the Secretariat for Territorial Peace and Reconciliation reaffirms its commitment to continue working for peace and reconciliation, fostering spaces for the exchange of knowledge, where different views are shared that generate reflection and dialogue around the implementation of the Final Peace Agreement.

Download here
the review document that collects the perspectives of the dialogues held at the event.

(Click here for a Spanish version of this article.)

Brazil: Practices that promote a culture of peace at Funase had good results in 2021


An article from the blog of Didi Galvão

Restorative justice actions, aimed at promoting a culture of peace in socio-educational units in Pernambuco, had good results in 2021. During this period, 77 circles of restorative justice were carried out with 458 participants, including adolescents and young people in compliance with socio-educational measures and employees of the Socio-Educational Service Foundation (Funase), an institution linked to the Department of Social Development, Children and Youth (SDSCJ) of Pernambuco.

Image: Divulgação/Funase

The face-to-face activities took place in a manner adapted to the health guidelines resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, with smaller groups of participants, in accordance with the protocol established by Funase. The training processes of multipliers, on the other hand, prioritized the virtual modality. In 2022, the idea is to continue expanding the work of the Center for Restorative Justice (NJR), a group of public servants established in 2019 with the objective of disseminating these practices in the socio-educational system in Pernambuco.

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(Click here for the original article in Portuguese)

Discussion question

Restorative justice, What does it look like in practice?

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Restorative Justice addresses issues such as conflict mediation and non-violent communication, encouraging accountability processes. Marcela Mariz, coordinator of the NJR, believes that the gains have been significant. “We see important results for those who participate. Compliance with the socio-educational measure is not easy. Welcoming, strengthening and empowering are essential actions. And Restorative Justice presents itself as a great tool for that”, she says.

The Socio-Educational Service Center (Case) Jaboatão dos Guararapes, in the Metropolitan Region of Recife, is one of the Funase units where restorative practices are implemented and in progress. “At first, some teenagers show resistance, but later they realize that that moment is theirs and that’s when they can reflect, tell stories and build an internal space for this practice”, explains psychologist and reference technician Cristiane Campelo.

In 2021, training courses were held for managers and technicians on the topic “Restorative Justice in the Socio-Educational System”, with the promotion of Funase in partnership with the Training Center for Public Servants and Employees of the State of Pernambuco (Cefospe). Trainings on coping with LGBTphobia and its parallels with restorative practices were also guided. Another highlight was NJR’s participation in the 1st Latin American Journey “Justice and Restorative Practices: reflections, tools and good practices”, an event held in September, remotely, based in Argentina.

López Obrador and the offer of asylum to Julian Assange: honest politics in a time of double standards


An opinion piece by Javier Buenrostro from RT (translation by CPNN)

Last Monday (January 3), in his first morning conference, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador appeared flanked by Jeremy Corbyn, a British MP and leader of the Labor Party between 2015 and 2020. Corbyn, who is one of the main references of the European left, has strong ties with Mexico since his wife, lawyer Laura Álvarez, is Mexican and for this reason maintains an important bond that extends to all of Latin America. For example, Corbyn does not stop pointing out that Gabriel Boric’s triumph in Chile a few days ago gives him joy and hope.A petition from United National Antiwar Coalition

Obrador (left) and Corbyn (right) at the January 3 press conference (photo from Reuters

Due to Corbyn’s presence, the Mexican press asked López Obrador about his offer of asylum to the Australian journalist Julian Assange , WikiLeaks founder and who is about to have served three years in a London jail and ten years deprived of his freedom, counting the time he was asylum in the Embassy of Ecuador in the United Kingdom.

The United States government is close to prosecuting Julian Assange on charges of espionage and attacking national security, after British judges accepted that the WikiLeaks leader could be extradited to that country. Given this , the possibility of asylum for Assange in a country has once again been considered , as a measure to protect human rights and freedom of the press and information.

Mexico, honoring one of its best traditions in foreign policy, which is that of giving refuge to those persecuted for political or ideological reasons, has on several occasions expressed its intention to provide asylum to Julian Assange, even in the face of the possible controversy and confrontation that could arise. ith the United States.

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Click here for the Spanish original of this article.

Question related to this article:
Julian Assange, Is he a hero for the culture of peace?

Free flow of information, How is it important for a culture of peace?

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López Obrador revealed that on December 23, 2020, he wrote a letter to Donald Trump asking the United States government to exonerate and pardon Julian Assange. In the letter, the Mexican president explained to his counterpart that, in his opinion, Assange was a person moved by ideals and principles, and that for that fact he should be worthy of compassion. Unfortunately, the letter was never answered.

Currently, according to Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s asylum offer to Julian Assange is still in place and his lawyers are in contact , however, for procedural reasons, the offer cannot be made effective at this time . After ten years, Assange is still trapped in legal situations that have kept him confined all this time and one wonders if the United States will ever allow him to enjoy freedom in a host country.

Less than a month ago, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei posted a video on social media where he runs on a treadmill. It is a campaign that has the hashtag #RunForOurRights and that seeks not only the release of Assange but also to raise awareness about the defense of press freedom and human rights.

Ai Weiwei visited Assange in London in October 2016, while the WikiLeaks founder was in asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy. Since then, the Australian activist’s health has deteriorated dramatically, even suffering from a stroke a couple of months ago. Thus, while the majority of people who believe in freedom of the press and information advocate that Assange should not die in prison, the United States, a country that calls itself the “defender of freedom” requests 175 years in prison for someone who defended the right to information of citizens. Such hypocrisy!

If things continue as they have in the last decade, it is more likely that we will see an extradition of Assange to the United States in the coming months rather than the approval of asylum in a country like Mexico. If Assange dies in prison, either in England or in the United States, his death should fall on the conscience of the justice systems of both countries and will be one more example of the false narrative of freedom of their societies that the official propaganda wants the world to believe, especially in the case of the United States.

Mexico, for its part, continues to uphold the tradition of asylum and refuge in some of the thorniest and most complicated cases in international geography. In the last century the Spanish Republicans, Jews and Communists and the thousands of Argentines, Chileans and Uruguayans who fled from military dictatorships were received in our country, in the López Obrador government Evo Morales was already given refuge following the coup in Bolivia. Now, the hand is outstretched for Assange and for freedom of the press and information.

If only the asylum could materialize, it would honor all involved international actors and put an end to an act of injustice and arbitrariness that the United States intends to carry out in continuation of its double standards and hypocrisy on freedom issues.

Mexico: Toys and Games as Instruments of the Culture of Peace


An article from Government of the State of Jalisco

The Secretariat of the Social Assistance System (SSAS) and the Jalisco Solidario Volunteering have joined the campaign “Toys and Games as Instruments of the Culture of Peace”, an initiative of the deputy Rocío Aguilar Tejada. The campaign aims to promote a culture of peace through of positive play, creating awareness and reflection about the damage generated by violence promoted through toys and war games, in addition to inviting parents to refrain from giving them as presents during the Christmas season.

The coordinator of the Jalisco Solidario Volunteering, Joanna Santillán Álvarez, commented that it is necessary to strengthen Jalisco childhood, especially in view of the pandemic that has changed the dynamics of life, taking advantage of the development capacity that the game gives physically, emotionally and cognitively.

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Questions for this article:

Do war toys promote the culture of war?

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“It is important that we call on all Jalisco families to avoid giving war toys, and to share games capable of creating an atmosphere of respect, solidarity but above all of love”, Santillán Álvarez stressed, during the start of the campaign, which was hosted by the State Congress and which will conclude at the Trompo Mágico Interactive Museum.

The head of the SSAS, Alberto Esquer Gutiérrez, acknowledged that the current pace of life sometimes does not give parents time to pause to reflect on the toys and games of their daughters and sons. They are often warlike, including those of electronic devices. “If we don’t make an effort to generate sports, recreational, cultural and coexistence activities for our children, no one is going to do it; dads and moms are the main educators of our children ”, he emphasized.

Also participating in the campaign are the State Government, the Jalisco State Human Rights Commission (CEDHJ), the Magic Trompo Museum, the Guadalajara Security Police Station, the Guadalajara City Council, as well as the plastic artist Álvaro Cuevas and the CAI-METLAN Artistic Collective, who exhibited the sculptures “Impacts that leave a mark”, and “La Paloma de Picasso”, paintings linked to this purpose.

It should be noted that this campaign will culminate during the first week of January when girls, boys and adolescents are summoned to carry out the destruction of war toys at the Trompo Mágico Museum.

(Click here for the Spanish original of this article)

Ecuador: Festival for peace and human rights to be held in Guayaquil


An article in El Universo

The Canton Council for the Integral Protection of Rights of Guayaquil will hold the Festival for Peace and Human Rights this Monday, December 13, at 3:00 p.m., in the auditorium of the Anthropological and Contemporary Art Museum (MAAC), located on the Malecón Simon Bolivar.

Foto: Jorge Peñafiel Foto: El Universo

(Click here for the Spanish original. . )

Questions for this article:

Can festivals help create peace at the community level?

The festival is meant to promote a culture of peace, brotherhood, good treatment and respect for human rights, according to the Council, which has organized this event with the support of the Norwegian Alliance Mission and SOS Ecuador Children’s Villages.

This festival takes place within the framework of Human Rights Day, which is remembered every December 10. The General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 to make clear what are the basic inalienable rights of every human being.

This Monday’s event will feature artistic performances by the Guayaquil Municipal Band, the Juan Pueblo Municipal Children’s Choir, the Huancavilca Foundation Orchestra, Team Casa de los Dioses, the Juanito Bosco Marimba School and the Saint-Saëns Music Academy.

The musical show will include videos about peace made by children and adolescents from Ecuador, Colombia, Switzerland, Norway, Spain, the United States and Venezuela.

Entry to the festival is free.

Mercociudades: A Latin American Network to Fight for More Inclusive, Egalitarian, Diverse and Supportive Cities


An opinion piece by Fernando Gray in Other News ( translation by CPNN)

The last two years of health crisis have highlighted the inequalities within Latin American cities. In fact, the social, economic, health and territorial inequities have gotten worse among the cities of our region. Local governments are the first t respond. As stated in the motto of  the XXVI Mercociudades Summit , “local governments are always there.”

In this sense, the big, intermediate and peripheral cities are on the front line of actions that guarantee the right to an inclusive, healthy, sustainable and equitable city for everyone.


The pandemic has exposed the importance of local governments, as the first political institution that safeguards democratic life. Cities have been especially affected by the process of urbanization without provisions for sustainability, due to the problems of indebtedness and economic dependence, produced by neoliberal policies and financial capitalism that have dictated the global agenda from Washington.

In recent years, local governments have played an increasingly leading role, not only for the management of vaccines and the immunization process.  They have worked hard to educate and raise awareness in the community and to implement actions against violence, inequities and the vulnerability of citizens, plagued not only by the health pandemic but also by other causes of inequality.

Cities network

For this reason, from Mercociudades, the network of sister cities in Latin America, we focus on the need to strengthen governance. We must intensify efforts to develop territories that guarantee social, environmental and climate justice, equality, sustainability and a participatory democracy.

Mercociudades is the spokesperson for Latin American cities in relation to horizontality and twinning so that both big and peripheral cities are integrated to forge common objectives in pursuit of the well-being of the community and its environment.

The Southern has been more affected than the Northern Hemisphere, as can be seen with regard to the production and distribution of vaccines. And this is reproduced in multiple inequalities of all kinds, especially in peripheral cities.  We have seen that no person, no government, no nation can save itself by acting alone. We must think collectively, and act with parity and solidarity.

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(Click here for the Spanish original of this article)

Questions for this article:

How can culture of peace be developed at the municipal level?

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Inclusive city

At the recent XXVI Mercociudades Summit, in which the municipality of Esteban Echeverría assumed the Presidency for the period 2021-2022, we have proposed to design and implement actions, projects and programs that deepen inclusion policies with a gender and diversity perspective. Furthermore, it is urgent for us to guarantee accessibility to information, democratic communication and citizen participation of all identities and groups.

Local governments seek to guarantee to new generations livable cities with peace and harmony between people and with nature and the environment. We understand that major transformations occur from the local to the national, from the national to the regional, and from the regional to the global. Therefore, our mission is to continue in the integration of our cities in the network and with other networks in the region.

We propose to broaden the horizons of Mercociudades and to engage more cities, carry out more initiatives and celebrate the leadership of youth, women and dissidents. We are mobilized to forge ties of parity and horizontality between genders, generations, ethnic groups and cultures in all areas of community life.

Democratic communication

In the same sense, it is necessary to fight to reduce the inequalities in the accessibility of information for people with disabilities. We must promote cities that communicate democratically with equality and inclusion so that everyone has the same opportunities for participation, expression and development.

Likewise, we must emphasize cooperation and association initiatives so that we make known the situation of Latin America on the global agenda.  For example, we presented our position at COP 26 in Glasgow with a document that highlighted the common but differentiated responsibilities.


The peripheral nations are urged to meet global goals in the face of climate change, but our responsibility for the effects that industrialization has produced on the planet is not the same as that of the countries in the North. In this way, the Southern Hemisphere is faced with para-tariff barriers that prevent the growth of our industry, which, in turn, translates into greater unemployment and poverty in our communities.

For this post-pandemic scenario, it is necessary to make visible the need for a fair distribution of responsibilities and actions that concern the entire Latin American people. We fight for inclusive, egalitarian, accessible, integrated and violence-free cities. From the local to the global, we propose a life in participatory, horizontal and cooperative democracy. We fight to ensure spaces for innovation, avant-garde and social and environmental justice. It is time for the voice of Latin American to be heard.
Fernando Gray is the mayor of Esteban Echeverra, Argentine Department belonging to Greater Buenos Aires.  He is the President of Mercociudades.

Culture of Peace at the Encuentro Mundial Educar para la Vida


Information from the website y facebook page of the Encuentro Mundial Educar para la Vida (translation by CPNN)

The global meeting of Educar para la Vida (Educating for Life) is a project that aims to reflect and create a dialogue about education, the ways of life that humanity has adopted and the possibilities of transforming them through a different education. This project arose from the challenge that the pandemic and the environmental crisis have posed for humanity, challenges that have been aggravated by social problems such as inequality, poverty and migration.

The objective of this project is to stimulate a transformative cultural mobilization of the ways of thinking, of producing, of consuming, of living in harmony with ourselves, with the community, with society and with nature, taking into account the perspective that education is the key to building a collective future based on respect for the common good.

The dialogue that this Meeting proposes is carried out in virtual format and developed around six themes: Educating for criticism, Culture of peace, Global citizenship, Justice, Communication and Educating in life and with life. There are keynote conferences, dialogues between international specialists and an exhibition of the experiences of NGOs, activists, leaders, academics and pedagogues.

One of the six fields of reflection is the culture of peace.

Culture of Peace

This is understood as a process of recognition of the thousands of forms, experiences of resistance and local, community and ethnic expressions from which it is possible to learn to live peacefully or to defend ourselves peacefully from war. The universe of human rights and democracy is the context for its guarantee. An antimilitarist culture where the language of war has been replaced by one of solidarity, a language of the acceptance of multiple dissensions, from where we work hard to build a just, anti-patriarchal, anti-racist planetary society, in solidarity with ourselves as human beings, with the other species that inhabit the planet and with the world of nature of which we are part.

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(click here for the original version in Spanish).

Question for this article:

What are some good films and videos that promote a culture of peace?

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10 Conferences

Culture of Peace : Video of David Adams, Coordinator of the Culture of Peace News Network and promoter of the UN Declaration and Program of Action for a Culture of Peace (1999).

Culture of peace towards the future : Video of Federico Mayor Zaragoza, Pharmacist, professor, poet, politician and high international civil servant. He was director of UNESCO (1987-1999). Since 2000 he has presided over the Culture of Peace Foundation. He is president of the Scientific Council of the Ramón Areces Foundation since 1993.

What education and for what kind of life?”> : Video of Manuel Dios Diz, Teacher, institute professor, diplomas in geography and history from USC. Founder and ex-president of the Galician Seminary of Education for Peace. Former president of AIPAZ and member of the Culture of Peace Foundation.

Education for a Culture of Peace : Video of Sofía Herrero, Pedagoga con Master Internacional en Estudios de Paz, Conflictos y Desarrollo y Doctora con mención internacional.

Culture of Peace and Neuroscience: Contribution from Mexico : video of Roberto Mercadillo, Psychologist with a Master of Science, specialist in Neurobiology with a PhD in Biomedical Sciences. He is a professor at CONCACyT and his research revolves around Social Neuroscience. He has worked at the Institute for Biomedical Research at UNAM, in addition to being a Professor at the National School of Anthropology and History.

Towards an education in human rights and citizenship from the United Nations models : video of Matías Penhos, Researcher Professor, his Master’s thesis revolves around the United Nations Models to address discriminatory situations in the field of non-formal education and its incidence in schools. He is a member of human rights education networks at the regional and international levels.

Colombian youth are transforming politics : video of Fabián Acosta, Philosopher, Master of Arts, Kliment University of Ojrid Sofia Bulgaria. Master in Political Science, Doctor in Social and Political Philosophy, Kliment University of Ojrid. Associate Professor Dept. of Political Science National University of Colombia, professor of political theory. Social researcher, Director of the UN OBJUN Youth Observatory.

Constructing Cultures of Peace: Today’s Challenge video of Alicia Cabezudo, Graduate in History and Social Sciences, Master in Spanish Studies and in Education for Human Rights, Peace and International Cooperation. She completed a Doctorate in Education and Social Sciences. She is currently a professor at the International Peace Bureau – IPB and the Global Alliance for Ministries and Infrastructures for Peace- GAMIP.

The challenges of education for peace and sustainability of life : video of Jaume Martínez Bonafé, Doctor in Philosophy and Educational Sciences, founder of the Pedagogical Renewal Movements and the University of the Paulo Freire Institute of Spain.

La décima conferencia no está disponible

3 Experiences

Our thinking at Embera : video of Miguel Angel Parada, Jumara Kincha Embera, Colombia.

Psychosocial support strategy with the use of ICTs, through the Meraki school magazine : video of Janeth Triana Triana, Colegio de Cultura Popular, Colombia.

Culture of Peace in the Network of Women Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs video of Leticia Adela Mosqueda Ochoa, Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico.

Jamaica: Increase In Use Of Restorative Justice Centres To Resolve Conflicts


An article from The Jamaica Information Service

Restorative Justice Centres, which offer services to resolve conflicts, have noted an increase in referrals from the courts and communities across the island.

This was disclosed by Restorative Justice Coordinator, Andriene Lindsay. She tells JIS NEWS that conferences, in particular, have exceeded their target by 269 cases.

Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck consults with Coordinator, Restorative Justice, Ministry of Justice, Adrienne Lindsay

“The target for this year is 2,200 conferences and for the second quarter we actually completed 616 conferences, and that was in addition to our first-quarter results, and a total of 1,369 at the moment. or where we should be, which is 1,100, we are 269 ahead of our target. So, we’re doing really well in terms of conferences,” she says.

“This, when it comes to the variance, would be due to an increase in the referrals associated with sensitisation, particularly from the courts and the community. We’ve also had an increase in staff, which means we have an increased capacity for how many conferences we can actually conduct,” she further adds.

Ms. Lindsay says the Centres have also included virtual sessions, which makes it “easier for participants to interact”.

A conference is a tool used by the centre administrators that includes its facilitators, a Justice of the Peace and community supporters who can help to provide emotional support to everyone involved in the dispute.

“During the sessions, each person gets to tell their side of the story, but this time to the other parties that are involved. At that time, nobody else can speak; it’s just one person at a time.

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Discussion question

Restorative justice, What does it look like in practice?

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If there are any questions, those can be asked and responded to by the facilitator or community supporters. The last phase of the conference is what to do to move on and make things right,” she tells JIS News.

Ms. Lindsay notes that after each conference, the individuals involved in the disputes sign an agreement relative to the agreed resolution.

“If this process is done through the court, then that document once returned to court becomes a legally binding document, but if it is in the community, then what we do is just trust the participants to stick to that agreement, and we monitor it,” she adds.

She says follow-up for each case is done between three and six months and citizens can benefit from the Centre’s services free of charge.

“This is a free service, from the starting point to the finishing point. The Ministry of Justice does not charge any fees for interacting with the Restorative Justice Unit. We provide follow-up sessions, as well, free of charge and, of course, if any counselling services are required, we will also refer them free of charge to our Victim Services Unit,” she says.

The Restorative Justice Centres form part of the Ministry of Justice’s efforts to improve alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods.

The Centres will be established in every parish and are equipped to handle matters related to child diversion, restorative justice and dispute resolution, among other justice-related issues.

They also serve as a point of contact for custodes and justices of the peace.

“The Ministry of Justice is committed to make restorative justice a major part of the work that we will be carrying out, and we are doing so because we have seen that it is successful,” Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, says. He was speaking at a previous Restorative Justice Facilitator Training Programme.

The aims of the Restorative Justice Programme include the creation of a culture of peace through processes that emphasise the values of mutual respect, dignity and concern among one another in an environment of healing, reconciliation and restoration.

The Ministry is also trying for individuals and communities to become empowered to respond to crime positively, to enable productive relationships and reduce criminal case backlog.