Dealing with the Past

Dealing with a legacy of gross human rights violations is one of the greatest challenges facing societies in the aftermath of violent conflict. Research suggests that there is a relationship between the ability to address this legacy in a comprehensive and inclusive manner and the potential to develop sustainable peace. The swisspeace Dealing with the Past (DwP) Program supports governmental and non-governmental actors in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of DwP activities. The program provides a wide range of training opportunities and contributes to the research-policy nexus through its research projects, conferences, publications and teaching.

The biggest project of the DwP Program at swisspeace currently is:

The Archives and Dealing with the Past project provides support to actors in the field of transitional justice and dealing with the past related to the protection, preservation and management of human rights archives. Learn more

Latest Activities and Publications

Project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, 2016 - 2020

Right to Truth, Truth(s) through Rights: Mass Crimes Impunity and Transitional Justice

The swisspeace Dealing with the Past Program is a partner of this interdisciplinary research project conducted by the Law Faculty of the University of Geneva. The project examines the meanings and functions of the right to truth in contexts of persistent impunity. More information.


Mandate for the Swiss Development Cooperation Agency

Early Warning Systems

Within the framework of the Mandate for the Swiss Development Cooperation Agency Lisa Ott and two consultants from Kenya and East Timor presented potential design options for a governmental early warning mechanism to the Tanzania National Committe for the Prevention of Genocide


28 October 2016

"Audio-Visuelle Dokumente in der Vergangenheitsarbeit – Entwicklungen, Nutzen, Herausforderungen"

Elisabeth Baumgartner from swisspeace gave a speech about the topic of dealing with the past with audiovisual documents at the ICRC-confernce “Act Global – Archive Local".


6-7 October 2016

International Expert Working Meeting: Safe havens for archives at risk

At this international expert working meeting at the Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, the goal was to convene sending and receiving institutions as well as experts and practitioners to jointly discuss the needs, challenges, good practice and the way forward of safe havens for archives at risk. The expert meeting was organized by swisspeace in cooperation with the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.


26-28 September 2016

Workshop on Memorialization

swisspeace participated in a workshop on memorialization in Tunisia organized by the Tunisian Truth and Dignity Commission and UNDP.