A key characteristic of AJAR’s institutional identity is its close, ongoing relationships with survivors of serious violations. AJAR maintains these relationships by providing support to victims’ organizations, amplifying their ‘voices’ through trainings and workshops.
The core of AJAR’s work is to assist and empower victims, to support human rights defenders and to prevent the recurrence of atrocities. The most important contribution AJAR can make to sustainable peace and prosperity is to assist with building resilient cultures and accountable societies, free from impunity.
Entrenched impunity and prevalence of patriarchal cultures throughout the Asia-Pacific region block the pursuit of accountability and the fulfilment of human rights. Cultural taboos on exposing the truth about gender discrimination and sexual abuse contribute to blaming the victims. Impunity remains strong which allows for the practices of sexual harassment, abuse and violence against women in non-conflict situations. This becomes worse in situations of armed conflict and mass violations.
During conflict, men and boys become targets of violence and must endure unspeakable torture and abuse. Male survivors of torture face challenges in rebuilding trust and may adopt some of the characteristics of their oppressors. Women, especially IDPs, refugees and trafficked women, face further risks of violence and violations when they are displaced from their homes.
Victims of human rights violations and gender-based violence are encouraged to speak out on their issues. The strategies AJAR adopts include:strengthening participatory approaches to ensure that survivors take ownership of and are able to express and address their issues, initiating innovative research and tools to work with survivors and their children in addressing the impact of human rights violations, and supporting victims of gender-based violence in developing and implementing joint advocacy.
Indigenous/ethnic women and men are actively engaged to defend their rights. AJAR does this by strengthening participatory approaches to ensure that indigenous women and men are fully involved in voicing their issues and formulating solutions, and by supporting indigenous/ethnic women and men in developing and implementing joint advocacy efforts.