Final Report
Our Work
Regional Offices
Agreements & Norms
Finantial Information
Balance TRC
Sessions with Institutions
International Seminar
Public Hearings
Disappeared persons
Photograph Project
Photo & Video Gallery
Press Releases

Speeches in the Signing of Agreements

Signing of Agreement with the Ministry of Internal Affairs
Speech by TRC President

Minister of Internal Affairs,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Among the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s most important endeavors there is the laying of foundations for future national reconciliation, a reunion of the nation with itself, which would have sense and validity only if it is made with adherence to democracy and justice ideals that have been so often postponed in our country.

The notion of democracy implies many different elements. Some of them are secondary and others are essential to that notion. Among the latter, the Rule of Law undoubtedly has a central position indeed, we cannot speak properly of democracy where there is no balance among State powers in the first place. Secondly, general respect for laws and thirdly, a basic equality of all the citizens before the law. In the acknowledgement of the importance of the Rule of Law a fortunate confluence of purposes between the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Ministry of Internal Affairs is generated. This coincidence is today formalized by the signing of this inter-institutional cooperation agreement.

Allow me to briefly reflect on this point. Every Ministry of Internal Affairs has the declared objective of preserving order. Sometimes this goal is distorted, most of all when an authoritarian government seizes power. In those cases, order is misunderstood as social stability and even paralysis on behalf of the State and against the citizens, instead of being understood in its only valid sense, that is, as a daily expression of the above mentioned Rule of Law. The function of a Ministry of Internal Affairs in a democratic government is safeguarding respect to laws and regulations for the coexistence of citizens and to guarantee the right of all of us, citizens, to live in a state of security and peace. A social calmness achieved by transgressing citizens’ rights cannot receive, in any case, the name of public order. In fact, it constitutes said order denial.

This identification between public order and Rule of Law is what distinguishes the action of a Ministry of Internal Affairs corresponding to a democratic regime. And the present authorities have assumed it in this way.

The cooperation the Ministry of Internal Affairs is offering the Truth Commission for the compliance with its tasks is a concrete expression of this democratic commitment. Our work, as we know, is sensitive and complex, but indispensable. Eventually, the investigation of violence facts occurred between 1980 and 2000 and their public exposure is a way of making the above mentioned citizen equality true. Before already committed crimes, before, abuse of human rights already produced and irreversible, we must, at least, seek social acknowledgement of the damages caused and, in this way, the civic and human dignity of victims. In that effort, the Truth Commission’s personnel faces some risks, because some will always feel threatened due to the revelation of truth. The security that the Ministry of Internal Affairs offers us through this agreement is a fundamental cooperation we appreciate and thank very much.

Having said this, I must highlight that the agreement we sign today comprises another very significant collaboration area for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I refer to accepting the testimony of members from Peru’s National Police who were victims of political violence or their families’ testimonies a contact that shall be facilitated by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and which would permit us to comply with a task that is the essence of our mission as we understand it: serving any victim without making any distinctions among them.

Indeed, we have explained in several documents and fora how our commission is distinguished by its preferent service to victims. The north of our efforts is providing public acknowledgement to those who were affected by violence and to end, in this way, a prolonged indifference and a long silence that have made damage, suffered by those who were abused, harder, so as to say. Among these victims whose story we want to rescue so that the whole country knows about it, the members of Peru’s National Police are extremely important. These were men and women who lost their lives or suffered painful mutilation and deep emotional damage when complying with their mission of defending citizens. Of course, those widows, orphan children and adolescents who lost their beloved ones, so that others could preserve their families, are also victims. These victims bear hard stories that should not be silenced, but narrated to the whole country so that we learn that in the same way in which violence brought up the worst in us, it also gave way to abnegation and selflessness acts that we should call heroic.

This agreement will help Peru to know a story that has still not been told, that of victims at large and of Peru’s national police victims in particular. This is why, Mister Minister, it has a critical importance for us, members of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. By offering sincere testimony of what occurred, no matter how hard it is, we will be laying the foundations for this reunion of Peruvians in a democratic society and, hence, a fair society. I then thank the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ authorities for this commitment with a task that, more than an obligation, is and ideal we all share.

Salomon Lerner Febres
Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Lima, May 9th, 2002