Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Archbishop Tutu launches Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the Solomon Islands

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has launched in Honiara a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Solomon Islands – which is modelled closely on the body he chaired in South Africa after the apartheid regime fell.

Solomon Islands collapsed into chaos and violence from 1997-2003, chiefly as a result of conflict between gangs from the islands of Malaita and Guadalcanal, during which it was widely dubbed a “failed state.”

More than 100 people were killed – including seven members of the Anglican Melanesian Brothers order - and 20,000 were displaced in the fighting.

The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) led by Australia then intervened, at the invitation of the fraught Solomons government. Australia is paying $A 500,000 towards the cost of the new commission.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Tutu flew in to Honiara in late April and launched the commission in front of an audience of thousands at the Lawson Tama stadium.

He said: “There are many places around the world where there is conflict, but after a while peace comes. We in South Africa just want to say to you, if it can happen in our country, it can and will happen here.”

The 77 year old Anglican bishop also spoke at a conference named Winds of Change that brought together former fighters from Malaita and Guadalcanal, the latter being the island of the capital, Honiara.

More here-

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