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Speeches in the Signing of Agreements

Signing of the Cooperation Agreement with Canada
Acknowledgement Speech by TRC President

The tasks trusted to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission are complex and multiple, but they can be summarized in one essential mission, contributing to the establishment of a fair and democratic order in our country, by acknowledging and overcoming our great collective failures of the past, those that caused the terrible years of violence that we have been called to investigate.

In fact, hard and demanding work lies before us. It is also an inescapable job. In some more days, once the internal organization of our work concludes, the Commission will summon the whole country and will ask it to listen to the testimony of the victims of human rights abuse and to investigate the truth about violence between 1980 and 2000, before which, we must recognize it, the nation preferred to close the eyes and not denounce them, punish them or stop them. Likewise, we shall invite society to accompany us in a deep meditation of the reasons that made all this possible. We will have made little progress towards a better collective future if we limit ourselves to take note of what happened those years. Beyond the important information we collected, it will be fundamental to make a conscious examination that will show us what we must change in our shared life so we can make of it a space of peace and realization of people. This will take us to reconciliation, the final goal of our efforts, which will only be possible if perpetrators repent, if the damages suffered by the victims are redressed and if they really decide to pardon the offences received.

We Peruvians know that we are not alone before this critical challenge of our national life, because we know of the good will and generosity of the great democratic nations of the world. The people and government of Canada can well be the paradigm of this commitment attitude with the promotion and defense of democracy around the world. It is not surprising then, that through its embassy in Lima, this great nation has been one of the first to offer its support to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Already during the first weeks, once the Commission was installed, we received from the Canadian government a spontaneous offering of logistic support, which was invaluable for our first steps. Now, through the agreement we signed, the government of Canada will expand this collaboration to financing several Commission activities mainly related with a priority need: establishing a fluid and intense communication with Peruvian society so that Peruvians are appropriately and permanently informed about our mission and objectives and about the progress of our work.

Canada’s government’s financial cooperation will permit, indeed, to afford a significant portion of our public information campaign through advertisements and through the creation of a web page in the Internet. Through this means, and others we will soon put into practice, we wish to make this investigation and reflection process we are about to start to become a truly collective activity.

This is of fundamental importance, because our work will only give beneficial results to Peruvian society if it adopts our work as a duty of its own.

The truth we will expose, did not relate solely to facts, but also to factors that caused them. They must be assumed as the fruit of introspection made act by all Peruvians. We must all then be imbued of the moral purposes that drive this Commission and feel committed with the task of amending the great failures of our society and be ready to look at the victims with compassionate and, most of all, respectful eyes.

Thanks to the government of Canada, represented by its ambassador in Lima, his Excellency Mr.…, we will be able to attend that necessary fluid, timely and permanent communication. The Truth Commission expresses its acknowledgement to this exemplary nation, a constant and sure friend of our democratic illusions.

Salomon Lerner Febres
Truth and Reconciliation Commission