SOLOMON ISLANDS: Victims Set to Testify

Saturday, July 10, 2010
Solomon Star
Solomon Is.
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Reconstruction and Peacebuilding

FORTY-TWO victims have been confirmed to give their stories to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) third provincial hearing in Gizo, Western province next week. TRC Communication Officer, Dykes Angiki said 16 of them come from Choiseul, including two women.

He said the other 26 are from Western Province.

Mr Angiki said the victims are already in Gizo for the hearing.

"We expect Gizo to be crowded next week because the hearing will coincide with some election campaigns by intending candidates," he said.

The Solomon Star understands outgoing Member of Parliament, Gordon Darcy Lilo will launch his election platform in Gizo next Wednesday.

The hearing will start on Tuesday and finishes on Thursday.

Mr Angiki said Commissioner, Caroline Laore is already in Gizo.

He said the other three Commissioners, including chairman Fr Sam Ata, are expected to travel tomorrow.

Other delegates will leave on Monday.

TRC has already completed three hearings with one at Honiara, Malaita and Visale on West Guadalcanal.

Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua when speaking at the 32nd Independence Anniversary at Lawson Tama on Wednesday said:

"I trust that the Commission's work as well as that of the Ministry of National Unity, Peace and Reconciliation will contribute to our search for forgiveness, sustainable peace, and genuine reconciliation.

"I have followed various commission hearings conducted on Guadalcanal and Malaita. It is heartening to see victims pouring out their painful experiences from the tension.

"I believe when they pour out those negative/painful feelings, they would be replaced with positive feelings from the counseling they received and through their willingness to forgive," he said.

Dr Sikua said: "It is encouraging to see the common call from victims for forgiveness. That is how we ought to apply our Godly and Christian values.

“I think, no one can disagree that peace and unity are important prerequisites for progressive and prosperous nation building. It should also be noted that real peace though comes from the heart of individuals."

He said what is facilitated by the commission is a process through which the heart should be prepared for reconciliation.

"All of us must engage in the search for peace. We must cultivate and nurture a culture of peace and tolerance in our country.

"As the government continues to play its facilitation role, we too must see ourselves first and foremost as Solomon Islanders.
“We must strive to uphold nationhood.

“We must not allow our ethnicity instincts to shadow or cloud our minds to the extent that we forget our solemn responsibility to build Solomon Islands and to remain united, as one country, whatever the challenge is before us.

"My good people, in all our post conflict reconstruction efforts (whatever area it may be), it is our collective responsibility to rebuild this beloved country. Each one of us is therefore duty bound to discover his or her role and play that role in our efforts to rebuild this nation," he said