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Speeches in Signing of Agreements

Signing of Agreement with Asociación Civil Transparencia

Speech by TRC President

Revaluing Civil Society is one of the great changes produced in the world in the last decades. It is hard to pigeonhole this broad phenomenon of civil society in just one definition. However, there is consensus in accepting that we cannot speak of a truly vigorous civil society where citizen apathy reigns and where the management of every public affair is left in the hands of state authorities. Oftentimes it is through a nefarious experience – the suffering of what Octavio Paz called the authoritarian pest- that a community becomes aware of the importance of civil society. That has precisely happened among us: a country that remained doorman for decades of state power and confused by serious economic failure and by a sudden violence wave, tolerating once more the instauration of an authoritarian regime. Once this experience concluded, we now know that the way to conquer peace and development requires to make a fundamental effort among others, to take over our own problems and to seek within our own community our exit ways. This means going from conformity among a passive set of citizens to concern among an active group of citizens, who desire to participate, assume challenges and responsibilities.

The building of a healthy civil society requires from the participation of every citizen. Some of them have already started this task grouped in many different ways. Among the groups that have been doing so, Asociacion Civil Transparencia, with which we sign a cooperation agreement today, stands out for its short but brilliant path.

We can highlight many implicit values in the civic presence of Transparencia. Among them voluntary participation is enormously interesting, since it is one of the pillars in which the most robust democracies of the world are supported. Participating is building, it means offering one’s own strengths and talents to serve all. At the same time, participating in civic interest causes is like placing dikes against power, not to deny it but to help keep it within constitutional boundaries. Voluntary participation is one of the most concrete ways in which politics is rescued from the environment of constituted powers and cliques to become a daily practice. The frequent claim of turning democracy in a way to coexist becomes specifically real among participating citizens.

For the Truth Commission this agreement is particularly important, because it permit us to progress towards one of the central goals of our work: achieving the truth to help us build a more democratic and fair society, in which Peruvians relate equally and in which respect for each other is a principle, a norm and a routine instead of being the exception.

This ideal needs not be confined to the category of illusion. It can and must become a real and tangible achievement and to do so we expect to obtain support from the enthusiastic and generous youth belonging to Asociación Civil Transparencia. Thanks to their support we will be able to deliver the country a broad message: the invitation to participate in this process of seeking truth and reflecting on our collective errors, convinced that Peruvians can communicate more frankly and directly and, thus, become a genuine and national community.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission deeply thanks Asociación Civil Transparencia’s selflessness and spirit of cooperation. Its achievements allow us to trust in the relationship we formalize today, which will permit us to render important services to the whole country.

Salomon Lerner Febres
Truth and Reconciliation Commission