27 May 2010

Solomons TRC hears of violence against Malaitans

1:05 pm on 27 May 2010

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Solomon Islands has heard of the violence experienced by Malaitans as they were removed from land they owned in Guadalcanal during the ethnic tensions.

The Commission is holding its first regional hearing this week in the province of Malaita, following its first national hearing in Honiara in March.

The commission's chair, Father Sam Ata, says those who have appeared before the hearing feel Malaitans were victims of the conflict, which occurred between 1998 and 2003.

He says their experience is different because they were chased from the land they had bought in Guadalcanal province, sometimes experiencing severe violence as they were removed.

"In most cases there were murders, killings and also brutal violence and we'll hear stories which relate to sexual violence, rape and so forth."

Father Ata says people at the hearing have talked of the need to forgive and move towards reconciliation.

He says Malaitan militants were sometimes perpetrators of violence against their own people.