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gender-based violence, human rights, refugees, Rwanda, social justice



  1. Pavlish, Carol PhD
  2. Ho, Anita PhD


Gender-based violence persists in postconflict settings. Implementing an ethnographic study with Congolese refugees in Rwanda, we investigated community perspectives on justice and human rights. As core concepts, participants described the right to equal value as human beings and the corresponding responsibility to respect human rights as the basis for justice. Three factors that impede human rights include cultural ideology, social distance, and lack of a rights-enabling environment. Men described gender similarities while women emphasized gender differences in human rights. Ecological perspectives and rights-based approaches to achieving social justice seem warranted.