Conn. (UMNS) - The United Methodist bishop who has led Sierra Leone's
Truth and Reconciliation Commission said its report and recommendations
would be published soon.
Joseph C. Humper spoke about the commission's work during the March
22-25 meeting of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. He
serves as vice president of the board.
by the 1999 Lome Peace Agreement and established by an act of
parliament in 2000, the commission's mandate was to create an impartial
historical record of human rights violations and abuses during the
1991-99 armed conflict in Sierra Leone. About 50,000 people died in the
conflict, and many others were left maimed or mutilated.
told board directors that the commission decided to consider violations
dating back to 1961, the year Sierra Leone gained its independence. Its
focus, he said, was a bit different from South Africa's well-known
Africans struggled with apartheid," he explained. "Sierra Leone is
struggling with social injustice … man's inhumanity to man."
than 70 people were recruited and trained to take statements of
witnesses from various parts of the country, and public hearings began
in April 2003. With limited resources, commission members have managed
to collect 10,000 statements from both victims and perpetrators of human
final report, being prepared for publication, includes an executive
summary with findings and recommendations. Separate documents will focus
on how the civil conflict affected children, women and men. "We were
specifically asked to pay attention to women and children," the bishop
A child-friendly volume about the commission's findings will be used as a textbook in schools, according to Humper.
said the Sierra Leone government is required to implement the report
and its findings. When the commission is disbanded, a human rights
commission will be formed to follow up on its work.
is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York. News
media can contact Linda Bloom at (646) 369-3759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.