10 Mar 2010

Victims of ethnic tensions in Solomon Islands want atrocities addressed

12:04 pm on 10 March 2010

Victims of the ethnic tensions in Solomon Islands have called on the government and the country's Truth and Reconciliation Commission to address the atrocities that were committed during the period.

The commission is holding its first day of hearings into the tensions that claimed 100 lives and displaced about 20,000 people between 1998 and 2003.

Our correspondent Dorothy Wickham says the Commission has so far heard from people who lost family members or homes, or were chased off their land.

She says during the hearing's opening, a letter was read from the South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu who launched the commission last April

"He said it's not going to be an easy process, it's going to be hard, but it's a process that has to be taken and it will work because it has worked in other countries. And I think a lot of Solomon Islanders are very interested to hear stories from the victims instead of hearing thirdhand, secondhand from other people about what happened."

Dorothy Wickham says many victims would be concerned that evidence from the hearings can not be used in criminal proceedings.

But she says people also want to hear the truth so they can move on.