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Supporting primary justice in insecure contexts: taking stock


In parallel to the Annual Conference of the Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law ('the Platform') on 24 June 2015, Cordaid and the Van Vollenhoven Institute (VVI) held an event to discuss the progress of their research “Supporting primary justice in insecure contexts, South Sudan and Afghanistan: Exploring people’s concerns and conceptions, responses and remedies, and potential synergies of state and non-state actors”. This research is an 18-month joint research project funded through NWO WOTRO, and entails desk research as well as two periods of in-depth qualitative field research in Afghanistan and South Sudan. 

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Facilitated by the Platform, expert practitioners and project staff from Afghanistan, South Sudan and other relevant areas came to the Netherlands. The VVI and The Liaison Office (TLO) presented the findings of the first research phase. For each country, 8 case studies have been written about various types of land and family disputes, and about the ways in which justice seekers and justice providers engage with one another. The researchers presented some important obstacles to justice, as well as some ‘elements of success’. By engaging local researchers and practitioners in both Afghanistan and South Sudan, our research not only contributes to increased knowledge, but also works towards local capacity building.

Breakout session at the Third Annual Conference

Cordaid also hosted a breakout session at the Third Annual Conference of the Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law, on Citizens Seeking Justice and Security in Fragile Contexts. In this participatory and interactive workshop, project participants and experts reflected on the (first) findings of a number of research projects on access to justice and security provision (including the research by Cordaid and the VVI). This helped us to look forward to the second round of data collection, during which we intend to make our research more action-oriented. By presenting our findings and setting up the dialogue within the context of the Platform, we were able to share and discuss our findings with a wider audience. Doing so, we envision to turn context-specific ‘elements that work’ into ‘lessons learnt’ that can be used more broadly.

By working together, Cordaid and the VVI bring together the applied view of practitioners with the academic view of the researchers. By actively promoting the dialogue between these two groups of professionals we can come to more in-depth, theoretically sound, and practically applicable knowledge that can be used to promote primary justice in insecure contexts, not only in Afghanistan and South Sudan, but also elsewhere. By discussing our first findings with experts in this field of practice, we have gathered input to further develop innovative tools for action-oriented research.

More information

Further findings will be shared with the wider Platform community through the website of the Platform. For information on the research and/or the event, please contact Rob Sijstermans, Expert Security & Justice at Cordaid: 

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