The Human Rights Approach of the Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Commission

In this section, I consider the human rights approach of the Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Commission. During 16 months of ethnographic research in Honiara and the Marau Sounds area, I conducted 70 qualitative, semi-structured interviews with participants regarding the topics of human rights, suffering, truth telling, and injustice. My interviewees were drawn from a broad cross-section of society, from government and NGO employees, church and customary leaders, TRC commissioners, researchers, and counsellors to victims of human rights abuses and those who had participated in the conflict. My research uncovered some interesting inconsistencies in the work of the TRC, suggesting an element of confusion in the multiplicity of approaches used. In its attempts to be all things to all people, the TRC spoke both global and local lexicons of injustice and suffering, often paying insufficient attention to potential fissures between them.

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