As of yesterday, the Solomon Islands Government have began a National Reconciliation Program to formally address reconciliation amongst parties affected by the period of the ethnic crisis.
Minister for Unity, National Reconciliation and Peace, Hon Samson Maneka said during his opening remarks at the occasion, event preceding the National Independence Day celebrations this Thursday 7th July, is the first declaration by the Government and people of Solomon Islands to come together in a symbolic act to say sorry to each other for the events that transpired during the ethnic tension.
“The theme ‘National Healing and Apology’ is very significant in the sense that it is the first time for the Government and our people to come together in the symbolic act of saying sorry to each other for the events during our dark days, and to begin the process of accepting each other through healing and unifying love of our nation, Solomon Islands,” he said.
Hon Maneka said the Democratic Coalition for Change Government has a policy mandate to pursue in 2016 a meaningful reconciliation amongst people of Solomon Islands in all levels of the society based on the traditional norms of conducting peaceful reconciliation to “pave a road map of peace and prosperity that we all aspire for, this time and for our future generation to live joyously,” he said.
He said traditionally, the dialogue process of resolving conflicts was through chiefs and also through churches since the arrival of Christianity, but these approaches have not been adequately utilized in the Solomon Islands society today.
However, the Ministry for National Unity, Reconciliation and Peace said the Ministry’s peace building programme like Peace Negotiation Tables and mechanism like the Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Commission have been instrumental in facilitating many intra-reconciliations and institutional reconciliations.
He said the National Healing and Apology Programme has set the tone for the 38th Independence anniversary celebrations with the theme ‘Embracing Peace for Nation- building’.
As such Minister Maneka said, “Let us begin the celebration of our nationhood by healing and transforming our mindset, accepting each other as equal citizens of our beloved country and supporting each other along this road to peace and prosperity.”
The Minister for National Unity, Reconciliation and Peace also used the opportunity to acknowledge and thank the many Peace stakeholders and donor partners who have contributed immensely since 2003, to peace- building and state- building processes that enabled the country to ‘regain its footing.’
The National Healing and Apology Programme commenced with a Royal Solomon Islands Police Band-led Peace March by members of the Solomon Islands Post Conflict Rehabilitation and Restoration Association, Government officers and members of the public.
Source: Press Release, Prime Minister Press Secretariat