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Decolonising Truth Globally: The Solomon Islands

Decolonising Truth Globally: The Solomon Islands

Event Venue:



The Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was the first truth commission in the Pacific. The commission was launched in 2008 by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former Chair of the South African TRC, and began operations in 2010 for two years. It was established to investigate the causes of the violence in the Guadalcanal Province in the Solomon Islands between 1997 and 2003, which took place largely between armed groups made up of settlers from the Malaitan Province living on Guadalcanal Island and armed groups made up of the island’s Indigenous residents. Socio-economic, development, political and land issues fuelled the tensions. The conflict had a significant impact on the Solomon Islands. An estimated 200 people died and 35,000 people, 10 per cent of the population — were displaced from their homes, and many suffered torture, abduction and sexual violence. In addition, the economy was bankrupted and  government-run services were severely disrupted.


Register: Register via Eventbrite

When: Friday 13 May 2022, 12:00 pm

Where: Seminar via Zoom


Sofia Macher

Sofia Macher is former Deputy Chair of the Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a prominent human rights activist from Peru where she served as a Commissioner on Peru’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission between 2001 and 2003. She has subsequently been a UN Consultant for transitional justice processes in Libya, Yemen, Tunisia, Colombia and served as the President of the Reparations Council in Peru from 2006–2014



Joseph Foukona

Joseph Foukona is a Solomon Islander law and history scholar and is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He completed a PhD at the Australian National University focusing on land, law, and history. In 2003, he worked with the Solomon Islands Christian Association Peace Office as the Coordinator, Truth & Réconciliation Consultation Dialogue. He has also worked with the Solomon Islands Government on law reform, land, natural resources, and governance projects.



Daniela Gavshon

Daniela is the Program Director of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre’s Truth and Accountability program and designs and leads the organisation’s transitional justice work. Prior to joining PIAC, Daniela ran the International Center for Transitional Justice’s program in Solomon Islands. In this role, she provided extensive advice and support to the Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Commission, including leading a process for a women’s submission to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. 





The Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI) and the Institute for Postcolonial Studies (IPCS) have been running a series of seminars on international experiences of truth-telling with particular relevance to the unfolding conversation about truth-telling in Australia following the release of the Uluru Statement calling for Voice, Treaty and Truth in 2017. 

The seminars are intended to foster a critically important conversation about the possibilities and challenges of truth-telling by drawing on the experience of truth-telling processes in other global contexts. Globally, truth commissions have emerged as a widespread response to human rights violations in countries as diverse as Sierra Leone and Canada, with over 30 such commissions established since the 1980s. This series focuses particularly on truth processes that have impacted on Indigenous communities in order to share knowledge that may help inform an Australian truth-telling process. 

Thus far, globally, truth-telling has often been linked to discourses of recognition and reconciliation within a multicultural project. While recognition and reconciliation remain important, this symposium will explore what truth-telling with an explicitly decolonial focus might look like. It will ask specifically how truth telling can restore sovereignty and ensure reparations in a practical sense – what initiatives are necessary for this to happen?

Previous seminars have examined truth-telling in Australia, Canada, Colombia and Timor-Leste


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