GOV’T TOLD TO ACT ON REPORT

ONE of the surviving members of the Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is calling on the government to implement the recommendations of their report through political will.

This came after successive governments had failed to implement the Commission’s recommendations to date after they presented its five volume report to former Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo in 2012.

Caroline Laore told the Solomon Star in Shortlands Islands, Western Province, where she now resides, that failure to act on these recommendations will affect nation-building.

Ms Laore said there needs to be a Reparation Commission set up by the government to deal with victims of the Bougainville Spill over crisis and the ethnic conflict between Malaita and Guadalcanal.

She said government cannot brush aside the TRC recommendations because it was based on stories of the victims and perpetrators of the conflict.

“I understand previous government claimed it is too expensive to address the recommendations of the TRC report,” Ms Laore said

“However, donors have set up the TRC and they are prepared to help the government compensate people affected in the conflict,” she added.

Furthermore, Ms Laore thanked the Democratic Coalition for Change (DCC) government for paying $100,000 compensation to the families of two deceases at Kameliai, who were shot dead by the Papua New Guinea Defense Force (PNGDF) in 1992.

“The PNG government paid the compensation in 1995 and the family got paid from our government in 2016,” she said.

As such, Ms Laore said the government needs to put strong political will to compensate those affected during the conflict.

SITRC was aimed at addressing ethnic tensions still lingering after violence erupted in Guadalcanal, displacing thousands of people, between 1997 and 2003.

The report includes findings on historical aspects of the conflict, human rights abuses, and lists 200 people thought to have died during the conflict and the circumstances of their deaths.

Ms Laore said the Commission had only managed to exhume four bodies killed during the conflict, with 190 bodies still out there.

Moreover, she believes there was state of emergency declared during the conflict which nurses, doctors and polices have worked during the period.

“These people need to be compensated for their roles during the conflict,” she added.

From the five commissioners appointed by the government to head TRC, chairman, Reverend Sam Ata, George Kejoa and Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi have passed on already.

Only Ms Laora, Sofia Macher, a human rights activist from Peru and replacement of Kejoa, and Kamilo Teke, are the surviving members.

Comments are being sought from the government.

http://www.solomonstarnews.com/index.php/news/national/item/20059-gov-t-told-to-act-on-report

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