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Unreleased Solomons Truth And Reconciliation Report Queried
Forum calls on government to release commission findings

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Nov. 21, 2012) – Forum Solomon Islands International (FSII) questions the Government why it has not release the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report.

FSII chief executive officer Ben Afuga said TRC was established as part of the healing process therefore it must not be shoved away from the public.

Mr. Afuga said TRC had already submitted the report to the Prime Minister who must release it to the public in compliance with the TRC Act 2008.

"Part VI of the TRC Act 2008 clarifies the reports and recommendations. It states that; 16 (1) the Commission shall submit a report of its work to the Prime Minister at the end of its operations.

"(2) The report shall state the findings of the Commission and shall make recommendations concerning the reforms and other measures, whether legal, political, administrative or otherwise, needed to adhere to the object of the commission, namely the object of providing an impartial historical record, preventing repetition of the violations or abuses suffered, addressing impunity, responding to the need of victims and promoting, healing and reconciliation.

"17 (1) The Prime Minister on receiving the report of the commission, shall cause it to be laid before parliament and the report to be available to the public.

"(2) The Government shall as far as practicable implement the recommendations of the report.

"(3) The Government shall upon the release of the report of the commission appoint a person or group to monitor implementation of the recommendations of the commission and provide necessary resources to facilitate implementation.

"(4) The person or body appointed pursuant to subsection (3), shall submit quarterly reports to the cabinet summarizing the steps that have been taken towards implementation of the recommendations of the commission.

He said the onus is on the Prime Minister as stipulated by Section 16(1) and 17(1).

He said the report is long overdue and must be released as soon as practicable.

FSII CEO said during their earlier inquiry at the Prime Minister’s Office, the Special secretary to Prime Minister Dr. Philip Tagini said "due to some sensitive materials contained in the report, the PM ... will establish a special committee to look at the report first before parliament will deliberate on the report."

"However, FSII warns that the PM and the special Committee must not override the powers of the TRC Act. The report must be tabled in whole, regardless of the sensitive materials referred to by the SSPM. The truth hurts; therefore everyone must be prepared to face the truth. This country needs to move forward, therefore the truth must be revealed. No more, no less," Mr. Afuga said.

On the same issue, FSSI said a question about the TRC report was included in Monday’s order paper.

"The MP for Aoke/Langalanga was supposed to ask the question, however he was not present when the parliament session begun in the morning. Whilst praising the MP for Aoke/Langalanga for raising this important question, the FSII is disappointed that the question was never asked because the MP was absent."

Mr. Afuga stressed that so many victims of the tensions have been waiting patiently for the report.

"As highlighted by the former Chairman of the TRC, Fr. Sam Ata, the report contains stories of Solomon Islanders who sought to establish their humanity and dignity and also seeks to give a clear picture of the gross human rights violation of the past ethnic tension."

FSII said donors have poured in millions of dollars for TRC to carry out its work; therefore the report must not be shelved but made public for everyone to read it.

"FSII hope that the PM takes a proactive decision to release the report as soon as possible."

"The Forum Solomon Islands International (FSII), a registered NGO representing wide spectral of people, form States men to the grassroots, from the great learned children of Solomon Islands to the upcoming ones, from all genders and all races and from the outspoken to the silent majority hopes that the PM takes a proactive decision to release the report as soon as possible."

Solomon Star
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