30 Apr 2009

Solomons commission to reach out to community affected by ethnic unrest

3:15 pm on 30 April 2009

The chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Solomon Islands says its first priority will be to reach out to the communities affected by ethnic violence.

The Commission was launched in Honiara yesterday by the Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, to hear the stories of people caught up in the unrest between 1998 and 2003, and to promote understanding and reconciliation.

The commission's chairperson, Father Sam Ata, the Dean of St Barnabas Cathedral, says once the Commission's preparatory work is complete they will begin to go out and hear evidence.

"We'll go over to Guadalcanal where the conflict took place especially the villages that were affected on Guadalcanal and also Malaita. Those will be our priorities. It will be in the context of the people, with the people in their communities."

Father Sam Ata says it's too early to know who will come forward to the commission but he believes there is a lot of support for its work and many people will testify before it.