A healing process, not witch hunt: Seychelles' chair of committee on truth, reconciliation and national unity
The Zonm Lib monument, which commemorated the day of the Coup d'Etat, when Former President James Mancham was ousted.
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychellois who feel aggrieved by past events such as acquisitions of land or illegal detention can now file grievance forms, said the chair of the Committee on Truth, Reconciliation and National Unity.
The newly established committee in the National Assembly, the country’s legislative body, adopted its terms of reference for its work on Tuesday.
Grievance forms can be collected from the National Assembly and the mayor’s office in the capital Victoria and should be returned by March 14. The form will also be available for download from the National Assembly website – www.nationalassembly.sc
The committee has seven members and is chaired by the Leader of the Opposition Wavel Ramkalawan.
Speaking to SNA, Ramkalawan said, “I believe the complaints will be mostly about family disappearances, acquisition of land, illegal detention as well as exiles.”
The committee has adopted five terms of reference namely to shed the light over events since June 5, 1977; to receive information from persons regarding complaints as to any action affecting their rights since that day; to inventorize and classify complaints with a view of assessing the size of the problem; to receive proposals from interested parties and consider different methods used by similar countries in similar situations, and to make proposals to the government on the structure and composition of the most appropriate national forum to deal with the issue of National Reconciliation and the procedure it should utilize to that end.
“After the complaints have been classified, a national symposium will be organised where people will be able to voice out their grievances and suggestions can be made on how to best move forward,” said Ramkalawan.
He added that: “We are calling upon those who feel they can bring forth positive contributions on the head table to do so. We also plan to bring someone from South Africa who has some experience in this field to participate as well.”
By April 4, invitations will be opened for the public to submit their projects or recommendations in line with the setting up of a national forum in Seychelles.
The symposium has been scheduled for Saturday April 22, with the venue to be confirmed.
“We will thereafter prepare a law that will direct the work of the National Forum as well as make recommendations,” said Ramkalawan.
He added that: “We are aiming for rehabilitative justice, rather than retributive justice. We believe the way forward is to forgive but at the same time there may be some families that deserve compensations.”
On May 31, the final report from the Truth and Reconciliation Committee as well as recommendations as approved by the National Assembly will be presented to President Danny Faure.
“We want the exercise to be a healing process for both the victim and the perpetrator, because both sides are hurting. We are not on a witch-hunt, but a healing process. There are people who have been able to get closure, but there are still many who are still heartbroken,” said Ramkalawan.