Reparations

Reparations

  • To benefit women, reparations programs must take account of all forms of sexual and GBV. Such programs must include individual, community and symbolic measures, paired with access to services and land restitution. Packages of benefits can address underlying gender inequality through a design that promotes victim empowerment and self-sustainability. It may be prudent to leverage national commitments to gender equality by reminding courts of obligations or intentions in your written submissions (e.g. Universal Periodic Review, Sustainable Development Goals, or other international or regional commitments).
  • All your briefs should reflect a gender perspective, particularly in terms of the reparations requested. Consider including gender training for police forces or other authorities and gender-sensitive legal reform (e.g. obligating the introduction of female investigators) in your reparations request, instead of, or as well as, standard monetary reparations. Keep in mind that the reparations requested should reflect both the client’s goals, as well as the avenues offered by the judicial system. Seeking reparations that address underlying gender inequality (livelihoods training, land restitution to women, etc.) furthers the gender justice agenda and can address clients’ long-term needs. Reparations programs should take into account all forms of GBV and include individual, community and symbolic measures as well as access to services and land, to promote empowerment and self-sustainability. This is not always standard, so explicitly pushing for the normalization of comprehensive reparations programs should be a goal for your strategic litigation cases.
  • Studies often reveal that men and women prefer different reparation types. It is important to take this into account and gather an understanding of your clients’ wishes. Take particular care to include all needs and viewpoints when cases involve multiple litigants.
  • Monetary reparations involve important considerations:
    • Is a female client likely to retain control over that money if family members exert an influence?
    • If your client has no training in money management, how should such reparations be dealt with so that your client is not left vulnerable to outside influence and exploitation?
    • Could the collection of reparations be directed to promote increased social-mobility and independence of women?
  • If reparations are in the form of a symbolic gesture or an in-kind reparation, such as skills training or livelihood assets, like goats, it is crucial that this will not and stigmatize your client(s).