Parliament considers implementation of TRC recommendations

THE Parliament’s Committee of the Whole House considered the shorter version of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report, titled ‘Rising from the Ashes’ on Thursday, August 10, 2023.

This is paving the way for the government to act on the TRC’s findings.

The TRC report comprises two key sections: Part 1 – Recommendations for Healing and Reconciliation and Part 2 – Institutional Reform and Historical Issues.

Part 1 addresses six distinct categories, including Victims, Vulnerable Populations, Former Combatants, and Reconciliations. Within these categories, a comprehensive set of 18 major recommendations has been outlined. Notably, measures for reparation and exhumation are proposed to address the grievances of victims. Recommendations concerning women, children, youth, and the Weather Coast population aim to provide support to vulnerable groups. For former combatants, the focus lies on rehabilitation and the pursuit of justice through judicial trials. The report underlines the importance of an ongoing reconciliation process for the entire nation.

Part 2 delves into critical aspects of institutional reform and unresolved historical matters. Proposed reforms encompass Constitutional Reform, Land Reform, Justice System Reform, Security Reform, Health Reform, Education Reform, and anti-corruption efforts. These reforms are designed to tackle systemic challenges and enhance governance. The report also highlights three historical issues that warrant attention: the Marau recommendations, the Bougainville crisis, and the East Kwaio Massacre of 1927.

Minister Samuel Manetoali, overseeing the Ministry of Traditional Governance, Peace, and Ecclesiastical Affairs, expressed the government’s firm commitment to implementing the TRC’s recommendations. A collaborative effort, led by this Ministry, involved a consultative workshop in 2021, engaging relevant ministries and government agencies. The objective was to craft a comprehensive strategy for executing the recommendations and subsequently reporting on related activities, programs, and projects.

Minister Manetoali underscored the government’s practical approach to the implementation process. The aim is to maximize available resources while minimizing additional bureaucratic structures. The strategy involves leveraging existing mechanisms and processes for enhanced efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Moreover, the government is dedicated to coordinating the necessary resources for each involved ministry and agency. It remains open to seeking technical assistance from bilateral and multilateral partners when required.

In tandem with the implementation efforts, the government places considerable emphasis on promoting national awareness and civil education.

Minister Manetoali highlighted the importance of acknowledging and comprehending events from over 18 years ago as a pivotal step toward shaping a better future.

Parliament adjourned its proceedings, with a scheduled resumption on Monday, August 28, 2023.

During this recess, the Bills and Legislative Committee will scrutinize the Education Bill 2023 and other legislative matters.

Adding to the diplomatic agenda, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare is set to lead a delegation to the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Leaders’ Summit next week.

The MSG Summit, originally planned for July 17-21, was postponed and is now scheduled for this month.

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