The IJR is instituted
As the TRC ended its sombre proceedings, the world had witnessed details about one of the worst human rights violations. The unjust patterns of the apartheid regime were evident and there was a need for individual and collective actions to redress inequality. As a result, the IJR was instituted on 10 May 2000, with only five staff members, devoted to furthering the work of the TRC. In the same year, it established the community-healing project, which created spaces to reflect on the history of oppression while empowering Africans towards the direction of active citizenship.
The next step
The next step was aimed at understanding the citizens’ perceptions on social issues and their prospects for the future, which gave birth to the South African Reconciliation Barometer in 2002. By 2003, the Institute had extended its reach to Angola, the DRC, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, the Sudan and Zimbabwe. In the following year, the Transformation Audit, which measures economic transformation in South Africa was launched as well as the annual Ashley Kriel Memorial Lecture.
The IJR receives UNESCO Prize for Peace Education
In 2006, IJR hosted a national conference themed, ‘A National Priority? TRC Recommendations and the Need for Redress’. Due to its undeniable footprint in the continent, the IJR received the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education in 2008. The award inspired the Institute to intensify its work around advocacy and transformation to the point that in 2009, we uncovered the experiences of women who lived through the conflict in South Sudan. It led to the creation of the book, With Pain, Hope and Patience: The Lives of Women in South Sudan came at a time there was gap in literature and research documenting gender issues in Sudan.
In an effort to establish justice mechanisms ‘from the bottom up”, the IJR with the Congolese Coalition for Transitional Justice (CCJT) hosted a policy seminar in 2010 in Kinshasa. It provided a platform for government and grassroots structures to develop fresh judicial strategies. In 2012, the IJR became a Core partner of the Afrobarometer network to further the research and understanding of socio-economic conditions that affect the public.
The IJR expands its reach
IJR extended on the notions of the Pan-African Principles for Truth Commissions report by presenting an inclusive approach towards peace and stability in 2015 at Burundi, the eastern DRC and Rwanda. IJR has now expanded its reach to the Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Northern Ireland. Our thought provoking team is committed to dismantling colonial legacies through Justice and Peacebuilding, Research and Policy, Sustained Dialogues, Communication, Advocacy and Strategy programmes.
The IJR today
We continue to host the Annual Reconciliation Awards to individuals and organisations that contribute towards nation building in South Africa. The recipients of the awards include the Socio-Economic Rights Institute, the community of Masiphumelele, PJ Powers and Sibongile Khumalo, Shine Centre, the Ruben Richards Foundation, to name a few. As our patron Desmond Tutu once said, “IJR’s impact across the continent [is of] hope for our future. Someday we will realise our dream of a fair, democratic and inclusive Africa!”