“Memory and Truth in Argentina, Sri Lanka and Egypt: Justice Across Oceans”

In 2015, Global Change Center organized and facilitated an innovative South-South learning exchange in Buenos  Aires, Argentina. The aim was to learn and reflect on the process of transitional justice -memory, truth and justice-in Argentina by meeting the most important stakeholders driving the democratization process since the 80′ and until today.

The exchange informed the Egyptian and Sri Lankan transitional process and  opened up new ways for mutual cooperation with the participants, actively working in the promotion of justice and  reconciliation after dictatorship and civil wars.

Over the course of 10 days, the team composed by Amal Muktar (an Egyptian political  researcher),  Bhavani Fonseka (a Sri Lankan human rights lawyer) and Cecilia Milesi (Global Change Center’s founder and expert in conflict  transformation and public participation) conducted more than 20 in-  depth conversations with high level officials  from the Argentine Government, leaders who led the  transitional path in the 80’, relevant national and  international NGOs and key academics and  professionals coordinating the most innovative research and  memory spaces in Argentina (full list of interviewees below). Each meeting -lasting more than three hours-were an excellent exchange and an opportunity for debate and inspiration, helping the participants to think strategic  options to  continue the work towards accountability and justice in Sri Lanka, Egypt and beyond.

The summary of the lessons learned are documented in the report: “Justice across oceans: lessons learnt from the South-South  Learning and research exchange between Argentina, Sri Lanka and Egypt”, The report can be downloaded here : Lessons Learnt_Justice across oceans (CMilesi (ceciliamilesi.com)

In this report, the readers can read more details in the following most salient lessons learnt:

  1. The power of organized citizens
  2. Significance of the Right to Truth in transitional justice
  3. Understanding justice and peace as a political endeavour
  4. The need of constantly adapt, re-strategize and change in order to  search for peace and justice
  5. National Leadership: local commitment to human rights helped to strengthen democracy
  6. Value of complementing national and international spheres for action
  7. Justice as central for democracy and institutional building
  8. The importance of contextualizing the idea of reconciliation
  9. Investigating civic-military connections: dismantling the socio-economic and political system which allowed for mass repression
  10. A new future from learning from the past: the central role of memory spaces and archives

In Argentina and the world we say: Never Again, “Nunca Mas”. This report can support activists, practitioners and academics to innovate in their ideas for democratization in diverse contexts.

If you would like more information and/or explore how to organize a similar South-South exchange with Global Change Center’s support, do contact us: cecilia@ceciliamilesi.com 

Full list of interviewees and special thanks to:

  • Ministry of Defense of Argentina, Human Rights Department, Director and Legal Advisers
  • Foreign Affairs, Human Rights Department and Political teams and advisers Asia and Middle East
  • Procuracion General de la Nacion, Office of Crimes against Humanity
  • Secretary of Human Rights of Argentina, National Memory Archives, Archives Team
  • Ex-ESMA, Espacio de la Memoria: Cultural Centre Haroldo Conti, Director and Education Team
  • Graciela Fernandez Meijide, CONADEP Secretary and Argentine Political leader
  • Dr. Ricardo Gil Lavedra, former judge of the Junta Trials and currently Argentine Parlamentarian
  • Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, Vice-President and Legal Team
  • Memoria Abierta (Open Memory), Executive Director and Institutional Relations Team
  • Amnesty International Argentina, Executive Director and Communications and Press Team
  • CELS (Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales), Research and Archives Team
  • Equipo de Antropología Forense de Argentina, Forensic Coordinator
  • Rut Diamint, University Di Tella, expert in security and civic-military relations
  • Sergio Balardini, FES Foundation Programmes Director and expert in youth and political participation
  • Daniel Feirnstein, University of Tres de Febrero, Tribunal del Pueblo and expert in genocide
  • Parque de la Memoria (Memory Park), Institutional Relations and Education Team

DOWNLOAD NOW –  Cecilia’s paper “Justice across oceans: lessons learnt from the South-South  Learning and research exchange between Argentina, Sri Lanka and Egypt”- Lessons Learnt_Justice across oceans (CMilesi (ceciliamilesi.com)