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Seeking justice from afar: Diasporas and transitional justice

Research project
Inactive research
Project owner
School of Global Studies

Short description

Earlier research has shown how migrants can influence developments in their former home countries. However, less has been known about the role of diasporas in seeking justice, memorialization, and reconciliation after large-scale violence. Hence, the aim of the project has been to study how individuals and groups in the diaspora engage with transitional justice processes in two cases: Rwanda and Sri Lanka.

Background and research aims

Societies that have gone through genocide and war face considerable challenges related to justice, memorialization, and reconciliation. This project has drawn attention to and analyzed the fact that such processes - of transitional justice (TJ) - also take place outside of the country where the mass-atrocities occurred. Victims, perpetrators, and activists have, through migration, been spread around the globe. This means that the concerns and contestations that arise in TJ processes also play out in the diaspora. Earlier research has shown how migrants can influence developments in their former home countries. However, less has been known about the role of diasporas in seeking justice, memorialization, and reconciliation after large-scale violence. Hence, the aim of the project has been to study how individuals and groups in the diaspora engage with transitional justice processes in two cases: Rwanda and Sri Lanka. The project has looked at how diaspora actors initiate, participate in, and influence TJ processes as well as on how their TJ engagement shape diaspora identities.

Publications

Camilla Orjuela, ‘Mobilizing diasporas for justice. Opportunity structures and the presencing of a violent past‘ in Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 2018.

Camilla Orjuela, ‘Remembering genocide in the diaspora: Space and materiality in the commemoration of atrocities in Rwanda and Sri Lanka’, International Journal of Heritage Studies, 2019. 

Camilla Orjuela, ‘Passing on the torch of memory: Transitional justice and the transfer of diaspora identity across generations’, International Journal of Transitional Justice, forthcoming 2020.  

Camilla Orjuela, ‘Victimhood and diaspora identity: Transnational activism for justice and the politics of labelling’ (under review, 2020). 

Arielle Goldschläger & Camilla Orjuela, ‘Routes and roots: Diasporic (re)construction under Sephardim repatriation laws in Spain and Portugal’ (manuscript under review, 2020).

Kristine Höglund & Camilla Orjuela, ‘Friction over Justice in Post-War Sri Lanka: Actors in Local-Global Encounters’, in Annika Björkdahl, Kristine Höglund, Gearold Millar, Jair van der Lljin, Willemijn Verkoren (eds.), Frictional Encounters in Peacebuilding. Routledge, 2016.  

Camilla Orjuela, ‘Sri Lanka’, in Lavinia Stan & Nadya Nedelsky (eds.) Encyclopedia of Transitional Justice, Second edition, Cambridge University Press (forthcoming). 

Dzenata Karabegovic & Camilla Orjuela, ‘Seeking justice from abroad: Diasporas and Transitional Justice’ in Liam Kennedy (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Diaspora Diplomacy, Routledge (forthcoming).

Camilla Orjuela, ‘Seeking justice from afar: the Tamil diaspora and transitional justice’, conference proceedings from the Conference on Tamil Nationhood and Genocide, Ottawa 5-6 May 2018.