Editor, Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report

Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

News Release

The Rt. Rev'd Dr. Terry M. Brown
Editor, Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report
Currently Bishop-in-charge, Church of the Ascension
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Formerly Anglican Church of Melanesia Bishop of Malaita (1996-2008)

April 27, 2013

Solomon Islands Truth And Reconciliation Commission Report Released

After much prayer and reflection, as editor of the final Report of the Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), I have decided to release the Report in its digital form to the general public. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act (2008) requires that the report be given to the Prime Minister who is then to table it in Parliament, at which point it becomes public. The Chair of the TRC gave the Final Report to the Prime Minister at the end of February 2012 in a moving and widely reported public ceremony. Since then, the Prime Minister has refused to pass on the Report to Parliament, citing at different times its large size and "sensitivity". The Report has not even been shared with the Ministry of National Reconciliation, Unity and Peace, who would have the primary responsibility for implementing it.

Threats have been made in connection with the Report and the Government has claimed that its release will re-ignite "ethnic tension" in the country. I do not believe this. The Report is very accurate and comprehensive and gives proper recognition to the victims of the conflict whose stories should be heard. It is not good enough to forgive the perpetrators and forget the victims, which seems to the approach of the Government. I feel strongly about this as I too lived through this period of Solomon Islands history and was a participant in the tragedy of those times. Scripture tells us, "The truth shall make you free". I am convinced that the TRC Report, as an exercise in truth telling, painful as the recollection may sometimes be, will help bring about the lasting justice, peace, reconciliation and unity that Solomon Islands so badly needs.

I would like to emphasize that my decision to release the TRC Report is entirely my own, done of my free choice, and I take full responsibility for the action. I express my apologies to anyone who thinks this is not a wise decision. I would only urge readers to read the Report carefully and comment upon it with wisdom, understanding and charity; and not to return to violence.

[PIR editor’s note: After consideration and consultation with experts, the Pacific Islands Report has decided not post the Truth and Reconciliation Report released by Father Terry Brown on our website at this time due to the controversial—allegedly illegal—nature of the report’s release. PIR does, however feel that Father Brown’s justification for the report’s release, as articulated in the above News Release, should be publicly available.]

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