The Parliament of Sierra Leone passed the Truth and Reconciliation Act
in February 2000 and members of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
(TRC)are expected to be appointed in early 2002. The mandate of the TRC is to create an impartial historical record of the conflict, address impunity, respond to the needs of victims, promote healing and reconciliation, and prevent a repetition of the abuses suffered. In August 2000, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1315
mandating the creation of the Special Court, which is expected to be established in 2002.
The potential for success of the Sierra Leone TRC is inextricably linked to the support of Sierra Leoneans for the process, and their involvement in it. Only an effective, nation-wide sensitization program will allow the Sierra Leonean people play the role envisioned for them within the truth and reconciliation process. Conversely, existing confusion and misperceptions regarding the TRC and the Special Court could contribute to continuing insecurity and undermine efforts to build a stable peace in Sierra Leone.
In partnership with the National Forum for Human Rights (a coalition of 37 local NGOs) and the UN Mission in Sierra Leone
(UNAMSIL), IHRLG is playing a central role in developing and implementing a national TRC public information ("sensitization") campaign.
IHRLG's recent TRC sensitization activities include
- Helping develop a set of core sensitization messages on the TRC for broad dissemination through radio and television, newspapers, publications, and workshops and seminars with communities and critical stakeholders such as ex-combatants and victims organizations.
- Participating in the National Forum for Human Rights' workshops for paramount chiefs (traditional rulers) held in Bo, Kenema and Freetown to establish their role in the reconciliation process and investigate traditional methods of reconciliation.