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Truth-telling in the Solomon Islands

Join Sofía Macher, Joseph Foukona and Daniela Gavshon as we explore the work of the Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the horizons opened up through the truth-telling process.

The Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was the first truth commission in the Pacific. Launched in 2008 by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former Chair of the South African TRC, it began its work in 2010.

The Solomon Islands TRC was established to investigate the violence in the Guadalcanal Province between 1997 and 2003. Access to land, and social and political economy issues shaped the tensions leading to armed conflict between settlers from the Malaitan Province living on Guadalcanal and the island’s Indigenous residents. An estimated 200 people died and 35,000 people or 10 per cent of the population were displaced from their homes, with many suffering torture, abduction and sexual violence.

Decolonising Truth Globally

Seeking Sovereignty and Reparations through Truth-Telling

The Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI) and the Institute of Postcolonial Studies (IPCS) are running a series of seminars on international experiences of truth-telling with particular relevance to the unfolding conversation in Australia following the release of the Uluru Statement calling for Voice, Treaty and Truth in 2017.

The seminars have sought to foster a conversation about the possibilities and challenges of truth-telling by drawing on the experience and processes in other relevant contexts. The series has focused particularly on truth processes that have impacted on Indigenous communities in order to share knowledge that may help inform an Australian truth-telling process. 

Thus far, globally, truth-telling has often been linked to discourses of recognition and reconciliation within a multicultural project. While recognition and reconciliation remain important, our series explores what truth-telling with an explicitly decolonial focus may look like. We ask specifically how truth telling can restore sovereignty and ensure reparations – what initiatives are necessary for this to happen?

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Date: 13 May 2022
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm Location: Online via Zoom

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Sofia Macher

is former Deputy Chair of the Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a prominent human rights activist from Peru where she served as a Commissioner on Peru’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission between 2001 and 2003. She has subsequently been a UN Consultant for transitional justice processes in Libya, Yemen, Tunisia, Colombia and served as the President of the Reparations Council in Peru from 2006–2014

Joseph Foukona

is a Solomon Islander law and history scholar and is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He completed a PhD at the Australian National University focusing on land, law, and history. In 2003, he worked with the Solomon Islands Christian Association Peace Office as the Coordinator, Truth & Réconciliation Consultation Dialogue. He has also worked with the Solomon Islands Government on law reform, land, natural resources, and governance projects.

Daniela Gavshon

is the Program Director of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre’s Truth and Accountability program and designs and leads the organisation’s transitional justice work. Prior to joining PIAC, Daniela ran the International Center for Transitional Justice’s program in Solomon Islands. In this role, she provided extensive advice and support to the Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Commission, including leading a process for a women’s submission to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.