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Speeches in the Signing of Agreements

Signing Ceremony of Cooperation Agreements with CNDH,
CEAS and National Evangelic Council

Gratitude Speech by CVR President

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s work is underpinned by a set of fundamental convictions, premises and principles without which our work would not reach its objectives or would not obtain the signification it should. One of these convictions is that the search for truth we have been entrusted with is fundamentally a collective task, a common building work in which ready minds and generous spirits shall converge with the indispensable morality reserve and civil commitment to strengthen democracy, peace and justice in Peru.

The agreements we sign today with the Human Rights National Coordination Entity, the Social Action Episcopal Commission and the National Evangelic Council fully confirm this conviction: the truth is to be sought through a joint effort and there are people and institutions in the country decided and ready to make this effort.

The Commission I am honored to share is aware that its aims would not be obtained by isolated work and that it will need organizations and persons that have made good progress in the past towards clarifying the truth regarding the bitter violent years we have suffered. I must remind you that since this work group was created we have received spontaneous selfless expressions and cooperation will from those organizations which did not hesitate to offer their help so this demanding task of examining the national conscience could be carried out.

In this occasion I will not synthesize the work carried out by the Human Rights National Coordination Entity, the Social Action Episcopal Conference and the National Evangelic Council to defend those who suffered indescribable abuse during the violence years. The country is well aware of their actions and their fruits, which these organizations are now generously making available for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Indeed, through these agreements we create a cooperation regime to permit the Commission to take advantage of results already harvested through hard work. Besides, we must stop to say that these fruits -gathered and systematized information, designed and proven work methods, relationships nationwide, trust gained among affected population- were achieved in years in which working for human rights was a dangerous issue. Indeed, it was a violence atmosphere with risk of retaliation from those who cultivated irrational violence. The organizations that are now becoming formally linked with the Commission developed their exemplary work of obeying a vocation and a conviction that also inspire us: making truth, the rule of law and respect for human rights prevail over the will of those who seek shelter under the rudimentary argument of brute force.

The collaboration we formalize through these agreements is invaluable for the Truth Commission members. We do no t refer only to the importance of having the results in terms of certain and ordered information. We also refer to the importance of being able to access a kind of work, a knowledge of how to better proceed in this issue with institutions whose professionalism and intellectual honesty are indubitable.
I have highlighted the great signification the agreements have because they inaugurate a cooperation relationship for the future. These words would be however incomplete if I did not mention also that the agreements we sign are also a way in which the entire national society acknowledges, through the Truth Commission, the constant work developed for several years by these organizations to defend human rights. Their devoted and, as I have said, often risky work is a proof that our country has real possibilities towards the construction of a fair order, a society made up by responsible citizens sensitive towards their equals’ suffering.

Finally, these agreements also reflect one more feature of this truth restoration endeavor that joins us: the joint commitment of institutions as the Social Action Episcopal Commission and the National Evangelic Council speak to us of ecumenically seeking truth and reconciliation and reinforce our conviction I mentioned when I started this speech, that is, the certainty that our task is to convoke a plurality of hands and spirits and the security that we will access truth through an open and generous dialogue and that by doing so we will be able to heal the wounds of our society.

Salomón Lerner Febres
Truth and Reconciliation Commission