Standard Article


  1. Andrew Valls

Published Online: 1 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444367072.wbiee114

The International Encyclopedia of Ethics

How to Cite

Valls, A. 2013. Reparations. The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 FEB 2013


History, both recent and more remote, is replete with injustice, cruelty, and violations of individuals' basic rights. The issue of reparations is what ought to be done to address those violations and their aftermath, with particular attention to how the victim should be compensated or otherwise “made whole.” Reparations also concern social trust and political legitimacy. In the wake of mass violence, or war, or other systematic violations of human rights, social relations – especially between groups associated with victims and perpetrators – and the legitimacy of the political regime associated with the abuses, are often at a low ebb. Reparations include the means by which a society attempts to overcome the violence and abuses of the past, and to lay the foundation for a more just social and political order.


  • colonialism;
  • compensatory justice;
  • crimes against humanity;
  • forgiveness;
  • genocide;
  • holocaust;
  • human rights;
  • minorities;
  • race and ethnicity;
  • slavery