Friday, 19 March 2010 3:48 PM

RAMSI Commends TRC

RAMSI Special Coordinator, Graeme Wilson, has encouraged all Solomon Islanders to embrace the opportunity provided by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to move their nation forward.

Congratulating the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on the holding of its first public hearings last week, Mr Wilson said RAMSI was very pleased to see the hearings successfully conducted in an atmosphere of genuine cooperation from the community.

"When RAMSI first deployed to the Solomon Islands, one of our primary goals was to restore the rule of law and create an environment that was safe and secure enough for Solomon Islanders to take the lead on issues such as reconciliation," Mr Wilson said.

"I am personally very heartened, therefore, to see such a positive response to the first of the public hearings held by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission."

Mr Wilson said he was particularly encouraged that so many of the victims who gave their testimony at the two days of hearings held in Honiara also expressed their desire to be reconciled with those who may have caused them harm.

"This has made for a very promising start and I encourage all Solomon Islanders to embrace the opportunity the Truth and Reconciliation Commission provides to move your nation forward."

Mr Wilson said just as the overwhelming support Solomon Islanders had given to the gun surrender conducted by RAMSI and the National Peace Council in 2003 - 2004 had virtually guaranteed its success, so the Truth and Reconciliation Commission needed the goodwill and support of the nation to achieve its full potential.

"The community's intensive efforts in support of the National Peace Council, headed by Paul Tovua, and RAMSI personnel seven years ago in collecting and destroying more than 3000 firearms are still bearing fruit to this day," Mr Wilson said. "In the same way, a full and honest engagement in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission by all concerned could have long-lasting benefits for the health and unity of this nation."

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which is funded by the European Union, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Australia and New Zealand, has planned further public hearings for Malaita and the Weathercoast of Guadalcanal.

Source: Press Release, RAMSI Media Unit