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Truth,Reconciliation & Healing Commission to begin public consultations

Author : | Published: Thursday, June 15, 2017

]From left to right] Netherlands Ambassador, Robert van den Dool, Acting Undersecretary of the Ministry of Justice, Filberto Mareng Mayout, UNDP's Eugene Owusu, Acting Secretary General of the South Sudan Law Society, Issa Muzamil; UNDP Country Director, Balázs Horváth; and Chief Technical Advisor MoJ and JoSS, Dr. Rowland Cole during the launch of a perception survey report on truth, justice, reconciliation and healing in 2015. PHOTO//UNDP

The Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission has welcomed the beginning of a process to sensitize people about drafting a law establishing the Truth, Reconciliation and Healing Commission.

According to the peace agreement, the Ministry of Justice is required to draft a legislation establishing the commission after national consultations.

The peace agreement mandates the Truth, Reconciliation and Healing Commission to lead efforts to address the legacy of conflicts, and promote peace, national reconciliation and healing.

The UN Development Program has also expressed support for the process.

Under the agreement, the commission should have been formed six months after the formation of the transitional government last year to start its activities a month later. But its formation delayed.

The agreement mandates the Ministry of Justice in cooperation with the civil society and other stakeholders to conduct public consultations for a period of not less than one month ahead of the formation of the commission.

In a statement, the JMEC says a technical committee formed last year began the sensitization process this week to prepare communities for the general public on the consultative process.

“Implementation of Chapter Five (Transitional Justice) has fallen some way behind other Chapters and we are delighted to see that preparations for national consultations on reconciliation and healing are being made,” part of the statement reads.

The agreement says the consultations will inform what to include in the law to establish the commission and ensure that the experiences of women, men, girls and boys are sufficiently documented and included.

“It is very important that the TGoNU maintain these small steps towards the implementation of key ARCSS deliverables,” JMEC’s Deputy Chairperson, Ambassador General Augostino Njoroge said, “Although it may be a small step, this is a very important step especially given the need to break the cycle of impunity, ensure accountability and contribute to reconciliation and national healing.”

The UN Development Program has described the beginning of the sensitization as a positive step attainment of what it calls irreversible peace through inclusive, intensive, and extensive consultations.

In a statement, Its Country Director Kamil Kamaluddeen said UNDP is firmly committed to supporting the government in attaining its aspirations and commitments.

“We at UNDP are even prouder that we are doing this -supporting your own aspirations and commitment -for the attainment of irreversible peace in the country through inclusive, intensive, and extensive consultations,” said Mr. Kamaluddeen.

The Ambassador of the Kingdom of Netherlands to South Sudan, Geert Guet, who also attended the function underlined the importance of allowing the victims of injustices to express their experiences, without retribution.

“It is important to know what the truth is and what has happened before so we can take the next steps to accountability,” Amb. Guet said.

For his part, the Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Martinson Mathew Oturomoi, urged the technical committee members to ensure the process of the consultations is transparent, inclusive and credible.

“This platform must create a genuine opportunity for the people who are affected to express their ideas and views,” he said.

According to a statement seen by Eye Radio, the Technical Committee, chaired by the Undersecretary in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, consists of civil society, the academia, South Sudan Council of Churches, Islamic Council of South Sudan, South Sudan Human Rights Commission, traditional leaders, youth representatives and South Sudan Peace and Reconciliation Commission.

The committee is expected to travel to the various states and visit IDP camps to collect views that will be used to draft the Truth, Reconciliation and Healing legislation.

The sensitization and consultation process will begin on 19 June.

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