Some fundamental concepts behind Truth and Reconcilation (TRC) processes include:
- future reconciliation is necessary for there to be a peaceful co-existence in a country or community;
- that reconciliation and peaceful coexistence rest upon knowing as complete a picture as possible of the nature, causes and extent of gross violations of human rights that have been committed; and
- there must be public recognition of the truth that had been hidden for so long by a multitude of falsehoods.
This dialogue seeks to share experiences transitional justice processes known as Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, instituted with the aim of exploring the truth hidden behind pasts characterized by gross abuses of human rights. The conflicts experienced in the countries and contexts of our resource people have unique and particular characteristics. However, we believe that the sharing of these experiences and those of the broader New Tactics community who take part in this dialogue will yield useful lessons for other contexts considering the use of TRC process. Because the effects that violence has on people are always devastating - rippling from the individual to the family to the community to the nation; they demand a treatment that is not only individual, but collective.
There are many questions of importance for our dialogue and we look forward to the many questions that will be raised by the participants. A foundational, and often contentious, question is "What do we mean by ‘truth’?" and as a result, "How do TRC processes deal with the unraveling of differing histories, truths and memories?"