From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
Taskforce on Reparation starts work in Sierra Leone
By Awareness Times
Jan 30, 2007, 18:39

The multi-stakeholder Task Force on Reparation has commended work to implement programmes targeting war victims. The Task force which comprises NaCSA as chair, UNIOSIL Human Rights Section, Forum of Conscience, the Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Representatives of the war victims had already held series of preliminary consultations to chart the way forward. As a first step, it is working on building an effective and efficient institutional framework to ensure the successful implementation of activities. The Reparation programme for war victims was recommended by the TRC and will be implemented by the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA).

Addressing members of the Taskforce at a recent meeting, NaCSA Deputy Commissioner Justin Bangura stressed that the reparation programme is owned by every Sierra Leonean and that all should work together to develop a credible and functional institutional framework, including personnel and logistics support.

The Deputy Commissioner encouraged the Taskforce to also develop a workable strategy; noting that the programme is a novelty in the West Africa sub-region. He observed that a functional strategy will ensure the achievement of the objectives of the programme and gave assurances of NaCSA’s commitment to implement the programme.

The UNIOSIL Human Rights and Rule of Law Chief, Benedict Sannoh said the United Nations has been monitoring the resettlement process, leading to the consolidation of peace as part of its mandate to assist the government in the implementation of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). He stressed that those recommendations are crucial to the consolidation of peace, observing that "there is no way we can consolidate peace without addressing the plight of the victims of the war".

He lauded the choice of NaCSA as implementing agency and encouraged the taskforce to work to "evolve an appropriate structure, bearing in mind that it is not a project but rather a programme aimed at taking care of even young amputees who need to be provided for".

Chairman for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, His Lordship Bishop Joseph C. Humper noted that the government has already started the implementation of the reparation programme, with the rebuilding of communities, through NaCSA.

Bishop Humper noted that the intention of the recommendations was reinforced by the fact that "we have a role to play to generations", disclosing that the exercise has made Sierra Leone a role model as Researchers come to learn about it, with the latest being the Traditional Justice for the Low (TJL).

He said the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration programme which dealt with perpetrators, has been concluded and it is now time to address the needs of war victims.

Bishop Humper emphasized the need to have a robust information dissemination structure within NaCSA to publicize the reparation programme to Sierra Leoneans and the International community.

Contributions were also made by the National Coordinator, Forum of Conscience, John Caulker, and the War Victims’ Representative, Alhaji Jusu Jaka, who welcomed the process and registered appreciation to government for fulfilling their promise, on behalf of his members.

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