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In July 1995 South Africa’s new parliament passed a law authorising the formation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The Commission, chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, was appointed in December 1995. The central purpose of the Commission was to promote re-conciliation and forgiveness among perpetrators and victims of apartheid by the full disclosure of truth.
Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
Significantly reduce all forms of violence, deaths
Strengthen national capacity on violence, terrorism, crime
Promote rule of law; equal justice access
Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions
Ensure public information access, protect fundamental freedoms
A significant number of countries are enduring violent conflict and political repression, which has led to killings, torture, gender-based violence and a violation of the human rights of their citizens. This has divided societies and polarized communities which undermines the stability and cohesion of societies.
The TRC was responsible for three specific tasks: to discover the causes and nature of human rights violations in South Africa between 1960 and 1994; to identify victims with a view to paying reparations; and to allow amnesty to those who fully disclosed their involvement in politically motivated human rights violations.
The TRC established a platform that enables victims, survivors and perpetrators of violent conflict and political oppression to establish a historical record of the human rights violations of the past through truth-telling.
This process of truth-telling records the events in a society as a first step towards establishing the foundation for dialogue to build bridges between deeply divided groups in a society. The TRC delivers a restorative form of justice and accountability, which increases the likelihood of promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development.