29 Apr 2009

Thousands attend launch of Solomons Truth and Reconciliation Commission

3:12 pm on 29 April 2009

Several thousand Solomon Islanders have turned out to witness the launch of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission by the Archbishop Emeritus, Desmond Tutu this morning.

The commission will hear from victims and witnesses to the ethnic violence in which 100 people died and 20,000 were displaced between 1998 and 2003.

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

Our correspondent Dorothy Wickham says the crowd reacted to his message with solemn reflection

"A lot of people were wanting to listen more than have any say or react to what he was saying. I think to them it was a good moment not only to listen to him but to reflect on what Solomon Islands has faced and come out of as a result of the ethnic problems that we had here."

Dorothy Wickham says many schools and church groups were involved in the historic ceremony.