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Memorialization


Memorialization generally refers to the process of preserving memories of people or events. It can be a form of address or petition, or a ceremony of remembrance or commemoration.

Memorialization is a universal need for both those being memorialized and those who are grieving. Although historically it was limited to the elite and only practiced in the highest societal classes, it is now almost considered a fundamental human right for all people.

In the context of transitional justice, memorialization is used to honor the victims of human rights abuses. Memorials can help governments reconcile tensions with victims by demonstrating respect and acknowledging the past. They can also help to establish a record of history, and to prevent the recurrence of abuse.

Memorials can also be serious social and political forces in democracy-building efforts.

Memorials are also a form of reparations, or compensation efforts that seek to address past human rights violations. They aim to provide compensation for losses endured by victims of abuse, and remedy prior wrongdoing. They also publicly recognize that victims are entitled to redress and respect. The United Nations Basic Principles on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation recognizes “commemorations and tributes to the victims” as a form of reparation.

There are numerous types of memorials used as transitional justice initiatives. These include architectural memorials, museums, and other commemorative events. For instance, in northern Uganda, monuments, annual prayer ceremonies, and a mass grave were created in response to the war conducted by and against the Lord’s Resistance Army there.

Another example is the Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Chile, which was created to document abuses by the former military dictatorship there.

Memorialization can arouse controversy and present certain risks. In unstable political situations, memorials may increase desire for revenge and catalyze further violence. They are highly politicized processes that represent the will of those in power. They are thus difficult to shape, and international relief workers, peacekeepers, and NGOs risk being drawn into disputes about the creation or maintenance of memorial sites. Yet they also have the potential to redress historical grievances and enable societies to progress.



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Wikipedia

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