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Reparations for Past Harms

Reparations involve applying the logic of restorative justice to the negotiation and resolution of intergroup conflicts, which increasingly since the end of World War II has been regarded as an effective method for redressing historical injustice. Reparations have been understood narrowly, as material compensation for losses that could not otherwise be recovered, and historically these strictures were imposed on history's “losers” (for example, in the case of war reparations). Recently, the concept has come to encompass a range of voluntary mechanisms to rectify past harms. These include monetary compensation; restitution (return of expropriated goods or properties); apology and commemoration (acknowledgment of a moral transgression and a commitment to reverse or ameliorate the enduring consequences of that transgression); and the implementation of group-sensitive measures for the ...

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