23 Apr 2009

Archbishop Tutu to launch Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Commission

10:58 am on 23 April 2009

A Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Commission will be launched by South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu next week.

Officials say the Nobel Peace laureate will next Wednesday start the commission, which will investigate the causes of unrest between 1997 and 2003 in which more than 100 people were killed.

An estimated 20,000 people were displaced amid tensions on the island of Guadalcanal between indigenous militants and rivals originally from the neighbouring island of Malaita.

Violence on the islands ended in 2003 with the arrival of the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands or RAMSI.

The Solomon Islands government says it believes the commission will be an important way of promoting reconciliation and healing the wounds of the ethnic conflict.

The head of the Ministry of Peace and Reconciliation, Joy Kere, says Desmond Tutu's participation will be inspirational and will give the truth and reconciliation commission integrity.