- Showing 3 posts filed under: National Reconciliation [–] published between Jun 01, 2009 and Jun 30, 2009 [Show all]
Liberia national conference concludes with the Virginia Declaration
The Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission recently sponsored a National Conference on Reconciliation in Virginia, Liberia. Delegates came from all parts of the country as well as abroad, included representatives of all races, clans and tribes, and consisted of perpetrators as well as victims.
On June 19, 2009, the conference issued The Virginia Declaration: A Call For a Way Forward to a New Liberia through Reconciliation and Justice resulting from the National Truth and Reconciliation Processes Culminating in the National Conference on Reconciliation Held at the Unity Conference Center in Virginia, Liberia.
Among its provisions were calls for individual and community reparations, prosecution of leaders of warring factions during the conflict as well as use of "under the palava hut" approaches to deal with participants who have confessed their part and who seek forgiveness.
Forgiveness and the state
There are so many shootings in major urban areas these days that most have ceased to garner any public attention. An exception occurred last year when an 11 year-old boy taking a piano lesson on a school-day afternoon was shot and paralyzed by a stray bullet from a gas station hold-up attempt across the street—an accident so arbitrary and a victim so clearly innocent that it captured the hearts and attention of the entire Bay Area community. The trial for that crime has just ended here in Oakland, the gunman sentenced to 70 years to life in prison, with the young victim, Christopher Rodriguez, telling him “I forgive you.”
At the Independent Institute’s Gala for Liberty last fall, attendees were entranced listening to Archbishop Desmond Tutu describe South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s trials for the horrific violence conducted under apartheid. At the trials, perpetrators were given the opportunity to stand before their victims (or their survivors) to confess their crimes and ask for forgiveness. As the Archbishop explained, though criticized by some for letting criminals off without “punishment,” the commission in fact delivered “restorative justice:”
South Africa's whites and restorative justice
We hear a lot in the news about racial conflict, and a lot less about racial reconciliation. But from South Africa to South Central Los Angeles, there are communities engaging in what experts call “restorative justice" to resolve the wrongs of the past and present.