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Decolonization and Restorative Justice: A Proposed Theoretical Framework

Muhammad Asadullah

2021 Bangladesh, Asia

The concept of decolonization has been used in numerous disciplines and settings, including education, psychology, governance, justice, transitional justice, restorative justice as well as research methods. Fanon (1963) saw decolonization as a process of both unlearning and undoing the harms of colonization. For Monchalin (2016), decolonization is both a goal and process to bring about a fundamental shift in colonial structures, ideologies and discourses. According to Alfred (2009, p. 185), decolonization requires “nation-to-nation partnership” for “justice and peace”. In the context of Restorative Justice (RJ), decolonization entails a) addressing historical harms of colonization, b) recognizing grievances of Indigenous and marginalized communities about the justice system as genuine, and c) acknowledging that state- or INGO-funded RJ practices may do more harm than good. This paper begins with a brief overview of decolonization discourses from both micro and macro perspectives to then locate decolonization in justice settings, arguing against ‘copying and pasting’ Eurocentric models of RJ practices. Grounded in the findings of RJ visionaries and practitioners in Bangladesh and the work of Cunneen (2002), and Tauri and Morris (1997), this study proposes a decolonizing framework for RJ practices.

decolonization, restorative justice, consultation, cultural relevancy, resource sharing