PeaceCon 2020 brought together experts and practitioners to consider the interplay of justice and peacebuilding; and strategies to elevate and integrate peacebuilding in a collective effort to shape a more just, secure and peaceful future in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Pathfinders for Peaceful Just and Inclusive Societies and ODI, organized a panel to reflect on the links between justice and peace in a Pandemic. The panel took a closer look at the events of 2020 and its relation between justice and peace. ACCORD’s Training and Innovations Manager, Professor Martin Rupiya provided a panelist insight to the interlinkages between unmet legal needs and systemic inequalities, and how people-centered justice approaches can contribute to violence prevention and help build peaceful, just, and inclusive societies.
Examples of strategic legal mobilization and creative ways that justice actors have worked to resolve and prevent people’s justice problems within wider political contexts of violence, social injustice or conflict were shared during this virtual discussion. The panelists reflected on challenges and opportunities that COVID-19 has presented in their counties and globally to leverage law and justice as one route by which the impact of the global pandemic can be mitigated. Professor Martin Rupiya reflected on societal and popular reactions to the pandemic in South Africa over the past year; the impact of the pandemic on structural injustices and access to opportunities in South Africa; and responses by justice actors in the context of the pandemic, in particular, the positive side, innovations and new collaborations that are emerging and how relations between justice actors and communities are evolving.
Other esteemed panelists in this discussion included Professor Rodrigo Uprimny, Director at Drug Policy Area in Dejusticia, Colombia; Advocate Florence Sambiri, who is a lawyer in Kenya and lecturer at University of Nairobi; and Professor Liv Tørres, Director at Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies. The session was moderated by Sara Pantuliano, Director of ODI.