Freedom from Violence is an initiative to establish a collaborative research network that brings together researchers from across the African continent focussing on evidence-based and human-rights based approaches to the problem of violence.
The significant reduction in rates of violent death is one of the explicit targets set under Goal 16 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, aimed at the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies, provision of access to justice and the building of effective and accountable institutions.
Freedom from Violence begins from the assumption that violence is not an immutable constant—that it can be affected by social, economic, legal and policy interventions. Moreover, in addition to the commitment of the SDGs, the Initiative explores to what extent States’ human rights law obligations require them to put into effect those interventions that can be demonstrated to prevent violence and ensure accountability.
The collaborative research agenda moves beyond the question “what are the State’s responsibilities to prevent violence?”, to also ask the question “what works?”. It looks to explore both the drivers of violence and the legal framework in which they operate, to identify and trial potential interventions, and to work with relevant policy makers at national, regional and global levels to implement them. In doing so the Initiative looks to combine a human-rights and public-health approach to violence-reduction.
The core projects of the Initiative will be co-located between the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa (University of Pretoria), the Centre of Governance and Human Rights (University of Cambridge) and the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, but will rely upon multi-disciplinary collaborations both locally and internationally.