29 Apr 2009

Solomons Truth and Reconciliation Commission launched

9:33 pm on 29 April 2009

The Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Commission has been officially opened in Honiara where several thousand people turned out to witness the launch by Archbishop Emeritus, Desmond Tutu.

The commission is to hear from victims and witnesses to the ethnic violence in which 100 people died and 20-thousand were displaced between 1998 and 2003.

Speaking at the launch at the Commission in Honiara, the South African Archbishop spoke of the importance of forgiveness to ensure there is sustainable peace.

Our correspondent Dorothy Wickham reports that interest is now turning to how effective the Commission process can be:

"Most of the real drive behind this is coming from churches and government. Now whether ordinary Solomon Islanders on the streets have actually put all their hope in this process, that's another question. There's not so much of a clear understanding of how this Truth and Reconciliation Commission is going to work amongst Solomon Islanders yet. But there's been a lot of work in trying to get awareness done, surrounding the formation of it. I think the next step they'll be doing is creating, making awareness about how it's going to be done."

Dorothy Wickham.