Motion to set up Truth and Reconciliation Commission

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Assistant Minister for Women Sashi Kiran. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU/FT FILE

Only when people heal and genuinely accept and love each other, we will truly have Fiji “the way the world should be”, and we owe this to our future generations.

These were the words of Assistant Minister for Women Sashi Kiran in Parliament yesterday while moving the motion to set up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Ms Kiran said all three parties in the Coalition Government were firm in their commitment to see to the establishment of the commission as “it is long overdue”.

“National Prayer and Reconciliation program initiated by the president of the Methodist Church during Girmit commemoration and participation of leaders and various faith groups in the event indicate that our people are ready for a healing process,” Ms Kiran said.

“It is our hope that the Coalition Government’s task of rebuilding Fiji together for our future will reach greater heights after the work of this commission.

“It is easier to look away from painful events and perhaps pretend that they did not happen, but constant echoes of divide, narratives of the past remind us that there are deep rooted wounds in many hearts unable to heal.”

She said the commission would try to reconcile and unite the people of Fiji and the future generations.

“We cannot pass the pain and resentment of present generations to those of the future. We cannot burden their innocence with our past.

“This is not about one community forgiving or seeking forgiveness from another.

“This is not about divisions of race, religion or province, even though those elements play a part.

“This is about each of us, as human beings, with all honesty, to look deep into our hearts and confronting the things that we have done which may have caused deep loss or hurt to others – people of other ethnic groups, but also of our own.”

While speaking in response to the motion, Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka said in the last Parliament as leader of the Opposition, he had proposed to bring the same motion but was opposed in the Business Committee and defeated.

“We are going to be debating this motion for our own peace – we have so much to offer the world but how can we offer something we do not have,” Mr Rabuka said.

“The motion calls on us to lead Fiji into a national crusade of healing and reconciliation to take our own homeland, our home into a new era of unity.”

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