What You Need to Know About Mediation and Its Role in Human Rights Issues

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Mediation is a process that involves multiple parties and can be quite complex. It can be applied to an endless variety of contexts and to a wide range of society issues and human rights disputes.

In many cases, mediation is the best alternative when there is the need to solve a conflict and reach an agreement. Follow along through our guide and discover what the mediation process is all about. It will be clear for you why it is regularly applied to discussions pertaining to society and human rights.

What is mediation?

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Mediation is an interactive process through which a third party, that categorically has to be neutral, helps the other parties involved solve a conflict. The mediator does so by resorting to their set of specialized negotiation and communication skills. All of the parties should be active in their participation.

At the core of the mediation process should be the needs, the interests and the rights of the parties. The ultimate goal is not for one of the sides to win and the other to be punished.

On the contrary, a good mediator knows how to take the process in a constructive, positive direction that will allow the participants to find an optimized win-win solution that meets the needs of everyone involved.

The role of analysing issues and the objective reality

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In some aspects, the mediator has a rather difficult job. Not only do they need to facilitate the communication and negotiation between both parties, they also need to evaluate the issues in question in an objective manner, and impartially assess when the parties are incurring in any fault.

The mediator also has the demanding role of bringing reality to the table. In any conflict or dispute, the parties that are directly involved tend to analyse the matter in a very emotional and irrational way, which ends up blurring or distorting the reality of the events.

Potentially, each party will insist that they behaved correctly, while also trying to demonize the other party and question their every intention.

When this happens, it’s up to the mediator to keep an objective approach and assure rationality and justice in the discussions. As they are not directly affected by the dispute, it is much easier for them to achieve that, hence the utmost necessity for the mediator to be totally neutral.

Example in human rights

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Now that you understand the basics about the mediation process, let’s introduce a hypothetical situation, yet very realistic, that pertains to its use in the solving of a human rights dispute.

Person A works in the marketing department of a company in the United Kingdom and is part of an ethnic minority. Person B is their employer. In the process of launching a new product, the marketing team fails to interpret a key indicator and causes the business to lose considerable money.

When assessing accountability, person B ends up punishing person A more severely than most of the employees that took part in the fiasco.

Person B threatens to fire person A, while person A believes that the action is unjustified and motivated by underlying prejudice.This is when a mediator can enter and try to help find an optimal mutual solution.

Communication is essential in the promotion of human rights. Consequently, mediation can truly be useful as well.