Assistant Minister for Social Protection Sashi Kiran says that the Coalition Government is firm in its commitment to see the establishment of a ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
While presenting her motion in Parliament today, Kiran said this has been long overdue, but it is better late than never.
Speaking on the motion which was seconded by Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, Kiran said Fiji has been plagued by political upheavals since 1987, having had four coups including that of 2000 and 2006.
Kiran said each of the four events have also caused pain and misery to many.
“Each time we recovered and tried to move forward with the hope that political upheavals would become a thing of the past.”
“The creation of the 1997 Constitution was a time when all sides of this House came together, under the leadership of the man who was then and is again now Fiji’s Prime Minister, together with the late Justice Jam Ram Reddy.”
“The House voted unanimously for a new form of Government and new ways of leadership. Sadly, this was not to last, but this is not a time to dwell on that issue. The sad events which have plagued our history themselves pass into history.”
“After them and each time our economy has recovered, sometimes we create new legal regimes, and we all try to move forward,” Kiran stated.
The Assistant Minister called on the nation to come together and to give true meaning to truth telling and achieving genuine reconciliation, helping our current, past and future generation to heal.
Kiran said reconciliation is a process of healing of relationships that requires public truth sharing, apology and commemoration that acknowledge and redress past harms and violations.
She said its focus is to replace fear with a sense of security and peaceful co-existence; to build confidence and trust; and to develop empathy.
“Co-existence, trust and empathy has to develop between individuals who are connected as victims, beneficiaries and perpetrators.”
“We have to create safe spaces for sharing our stories, we have to ensure all sections of our society are engaged including our women, young and elders and there is continuity to ensure healing and closures and narratives that help us move forward as a nation.”
“Reconciliation requires political will, joint leadership, trust-building, accountability and transparency. This House were entrusted, less than one year ago, with the votes of people exercising their democratic rights – the right to choose their leaders.”
“This will not be easy, but healing and growth is never easy. We must do this. We cannot pass the pain and resentment of the present generation to those of the future. We cannot burden their innocence with our past,” she added.