A Feminist Legal Analysis of the Interface Between Refugee Law and the Mandates of Truth and Reconciliation Commissions
Forced displacement both within and across borders is a common consequence of conflict. However, only a few Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (TRCs) have had a specific mandate to investigate forced displacement. Accordingly, the examination of forced displacement by TRCs is a new issue in transitional justice scholarship. Predominant within this burgeoning literature are feminist examinations of the ways in which TRCs represent women’s experiences of forced displacement. One of the claims put forward is that TRCs provide a truncated and stereotyped picture of the causes and consequences of women’s displacement. What is, however, missing in this literature is an assessment of how TRC mandates and their interpretation have given rise to this gender blindness and gender stereotyping. Therefore, this chapter investigates the unexplored issue of how the framing and interpretation of TRC mandates impact upon representations of women’s experiences of forced displacement. It will do this by comparing the ways in which gender has been considered in the Liberian and Sierra Leonean TRCs with the ways in which it has been addressed in refugee law. The purpose of the comparison is to highlight the potential for a dialogue between these two fields and that such cross-pollination can provide pathways for addressing the gender bias of both refugee law and TRCs.