You can’t talk of a justice without peace. Very often a lot of people tend to separate these two words–peace and justice–in a scenario where the concepts should be going hand in hand. Much of the violence that had caused chaos and misery in so many regions of the globe could be ascribed to the absence of forms of justice. Hence it is important to note that peace without justice often leads to a conflict. Hence sustainable peace should be based on justice at all times and should never be compromised.
Whilst growing up, I always wanted to act justly, stand up for the weak, oppressed, captives, voiceless, and people in all the margins of the society anyone could think of. This was the most beautiful thing ever–knowing with certainty that perusing a just peace has always brought me closer to the Lord. What does the Lord requires of us….to do justice and righteousness and to deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed, to do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless and the widow (Jeremiah 22:3). Furthermore, we learn from the scriptures that Jesus Christ himself came for this very same purpose: “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor, he has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set a liberty to those who are oppressed and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)
After having been accepted in the Global Mission Fellow Program, I was placed as a Human Rights Research Officer at JustaPaz, an organization which endeavors at building an empowered and peaceful society. Having stated these desires, when I came to Mozambique I found out that GOD WAS ALREADY AT WORK in the communities. I discovered that at my place of assignment there is that much emphasis on peace and justice. For example, JUSTAPAZ is one of the organizations whose mission is based on the close link between peace and justice.
On a national level, after years of a civil war in Mozambique as a country, in 1992 the political parties signed a peace agreement that provided amnesty to all combatants for crimes committed between 1979-1992 (International Peace Institute 1992). However, informal mechanisms to deal with issues of reconciliation have greatly flourished and this has been made possible through the help of such civil society organizations that have engaged in peace building activities such as reconciliation and conflict resolution. They have also greatly contributed to issues pertaining to gender justice, civic education, as well as domestic violence.
At the present moment our heartfelt prayers goes to the people of Inyambane who have been stricken by a cyclone. We will stand together during the healing and building processes.
TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE THE WORLD A PEACEFUL PLACE TO STAY.
Lynnete Tatenda Hlatywayo
JustaPaz: Center for the Study and Transformation of Conflicts
GMF International Class of 2016-2018