How does displacement affect access to justice in conflict areas? Evidence from research in the DRC.

Publication date: 22 Jun 2017 Organization: Ghent University

This research project specifically looked into the ways refugees and internally displaced persons deal with their disputes and engage with justice providers, including formal justice institutions, customary courts and mediation mechanisms. Research was carried out in different regions of the country (Nord Ubangi, Haut Uélé and South Kivu), illuminating a wide variety of justice needs, and considerable differences in formal justice capacities as well as in the presence of alternative justice mechanisms supported by international or national nongovernmental organisations. Despite these differences, it can be generally concluded that displaced people find it more difficult to settle their disputes mainly because of limited access to justice providers. Our analysis reveals that this limited access is primarily the result of a lack of the necessary resources, a mistrust of the impartiality of the state, and limited capacity to mobilise social networks facilitating this access.

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